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May 18, 2023 / 14:57

Related countries should be firm on their South China Sea stance

ASEAN member states and China are urged to turn political commitments into concrete and useful actions in dealing with the issues in the sea which is crucial to the world’s trade and geopolitics.

The countries need to match “words with deeds” on the South China Sea (referred to as East Sea by Vietnam) issues, translating political commitments into effective and appropriate groundwork.

 Ambassador Vu Ho, Acting Head of ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Vietnam. Photo: MOFA

Ambassador Vu Ho, Acting Head of ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Vietnam, said at the 20th ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the South China Sea held on May 17 in Quang Ninh, Vietnam.

The Vietnamese ambassador stressed the importance of the South China Sea, saying it’s a vital sea lane for the world.

The ambassador recommended that nations match "words with deeds" by turning political commitments into precise and practical actions on the ground, given the complicated situation and ongoing unilateral actions that violate international law in the South China Sea.

Maintaining and promoting peace, stability, security, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight in this sea not only reflects ASEAN and China's shared interests and responsibilities, but also their responsibilities to the international community, he noted.

In this vein, he emphasized the need to use international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 as a "lodestar" for activities in the South China Sea.

He stated that nations must seriously and fully abide by all of the DOC's provisions while working to achieve a COC in the South China Sea (COC) that is practical, effective, and consistent with international law and UNCLOS. He added that these initiatives would help to foster a favorable environment for the COC negotiations.

 Representatives of ASEAN member states and China at the event. Photo: MOFA

At the meeting, the participants reiterated the importance of DOC, urging China and ASEAN to seriously, completely, and effectively adhere to the DOC's terms.

They reaffirmed the significance of upholding the peace, stability, security, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea while adhering to principles like exercising restraint, refraining the use of force or the threat of using it, and amicably settling disputes in accordance with international law and the 1982 UNCLOS.

The nations emphasized the necessity of creating a COC that is practical and compliant with international law and the UNCLOS 1882 in order to foster greater trust and more effective handling of incidents in the South China Sea.