Vietnam, China discuss less sensitive maritime areas

By Toan Dao   April 22, 2016 | 10:13 pm PT
Vietnam, China discuss less sensitive maritime areas
Photo: Nguyen Minh Tan/Vnexpress Photo Contest
Vietnamese and Chinese delegates have wrapped up the eighth round of negotiations on maritime cooperation in less sensitive fields in Qingdao, a city in China’s eastern province of Shandong, according to a Vietnamese government statement released on Saturday.

The two countries established the working groups as part of their joint efforts to realize the agreement on the basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related issues signed in October 2011.

The two sides will continue to implement the two agreements inked during the previous rounds, including: a study and comparison of the Holocene sedimentary architecture of Vietnam’s Red River Basin and China's Yangtze River Basin; and a study on maritime and island management in the Gulf of Tonkin. They also discussed other cooperation areas at the meeting, said the statement.

They will also implement the results of recent meetings between Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Hoai Trung and his Chinese counterpart Liu Zhenmin held in Ho Chi Minh City earlier this month.

At the meetings in Qingdao, the two sides agreed to boost maritime cooperation in less sensitive fields, the Vietnamese government said.

Trung expressed Vietnam’s deep concern over tensions and the consequences of recent complicated developments in the East Sea. He reiterated the need to strictly follow agreements and common perceptions reached by leaders of the two countries’ parties and states. He called for effective control of marine conflicts, avoiding actions that complicate and exacerbate disputes, and settling disputes via peaceful means and in line with international law.

Protest China

Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs handed a diplomatic note to the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi on April 20 protesting China’s illegal landing of a military aircraft on Vietnam's Fiery Cross Reef in the East Sea. Vietnam also welcomed efforts made by any party that help maintain peace and security in the East Sea, foreign ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said on Thursday, while responding to a question regarding U.S.-Philippines joint patrols in the region.

In early April, Vietnam demanded China withdraw an oil rig from an overlapping area in the East Sea. China moved its HD 981 oil rig to an area outside the Gulf of Tonkin on April 3 that Vietnam and China are negotiating for demarcation, according to Binh.

China claims most of the energy-rich waters of the East Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year, but the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

Countries across the region have expressed concern over China's growing assertiveness in the region, which has intensified with a rapid buildup of man-made islands in the Spratly Archipelago, to which the Philippines and Vietnam lay claim.

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