Aug 10, 2021 / 11:22

Vietnam pursues multilateralism in addressing maritime security threats: PM

The stakeholders exchanged views on the need to remove hindrances for legitimate maritime trade.

Vietnam affirmed that it pursues independent and multilateral diplomacy and gets ready to contribute to dialogues and trust-building with other countries to maintain maritime security.

 Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at the UNSC Open Debate on August 9. Photo: VGP

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh made the statement at the United Nations Security Council

(UNSC) open debate on “Enhancing Maritime Security – A Case for International Cooperation” on Monday evening [August 9].

He emphasized that it’s necessary to have global solutions as maritime security is a global issue at the video conference attended by heads of state and governments of UNSC member states and high-level briefers from the UN system and key regional organizations.

For that reason, setting up a network of initiatives and mechanisms on regional maritime security to be coordinated by the UN is aimed to share information and take joint actions to cope with common challenges in a timely manner, he noted.

Chinh suggested three issues to help effectively counter maritime security threats, including full awareness of the role of sea and challenges facing maritime security together with tightened cooperation mechanism to sustainably tap maritime resources; a comprehensive rules-based approach based on dialogues and cooperation framework; and compliance with international law, mostly the UN Charter and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982, to fully respect littoral countries’ rights and legitimate economic activities and to closely follow respect for diplomatic and legal processes.

 Participants at the debate. Photo: IndiaUNNewYork Twitter

At the event, heads of state and governments of UNSC member states have stressed the importance of strengthening coordination to effectively counter crime and insecurity in the maritime domain.

Narendra Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to preside over a UNSC Open Debate.

He stated that “Oceans are our shared heritage and our maritime routes are the lifelines of international trade. These oceans are very important for the future of our planet.” “This shared heritage of ours is facing several types of challenges. Maritime routes are being misused for piracy and terrorism.”

“We should remove barriers from maritime trade. Free and uninterrupted maritime trade is necessary for holistic development,” Indian media reported.

Speaking at the event, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned the UNSC that “Conflict in the South China Sea, or in any ocean would have serious global consequences for security and for commerce.”

Reuters cited Blinken: “We have seen dangerous encounters between vessels at sea and provocative actions to advance unlawful maritime claims," said Blinken, adding that Washington was concerned by actions that “intimidate and bully other states from lawfully accessing their maritime resources.”

Blinken said it was the responsibility of all countries, not just claimants to the islands and waters of the South China Sea, to defend the rules they had all agreed to follow to peacefully resolve maritime disputes.

The objective of the debate is to highlight effective international maritime cooperation to respond holistically to natural and manmade threats to maritime security.

A comprehensive approach to maritime security should protect and support legitimate maritime activities, while countering traditional and non-traditional threats in the maritime domain, according to India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

The participants advocated peaceful settlement of maritime disputes and only on the basis of international law and professed encouragement to responsible maritime connectivity.

They also urged nations to collectively combat maritime threats posed by non-state actors and natural calamities and to preserve maritime environment and maritime resources.

The UNSC has discussed and passed resolutions on different aspects of maritime security and maritime crime, calling for stronger regional and international cooperation to address challenges to maritime security and safety, acknowledging the significance of the UNCLOS, and calling on the UN and the international community to further support countries to improve their capabilities and share experience in handling threats to maritime security.