Vietnam pledges to uphold the law in South China Sea at ASEAN summit

By Nguyen Tien   November 2, 2019 | 08:33 pm PT
Vietnam pledges to uphold the law in South China Sea at ASEAN summit
Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L, 6th) and other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations shake hands at the opening ceremony of the 35th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, November 3, 2019. Photo by Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha.
Vietnam has said it will continue to uphold international laws in the South China Sea to ensure peace and stability in the region.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, speaking at the ASEAN 35th Summit in Bangkok on Saturday, said: "Recently there have been serious violations of international law in Vietnam’s and regional waters. Although the incidents have ended, they left profound lessons for ASEAN."

This indicates that security and stability in the South China Sea -- which Vietnam calls the East Sea -- is very fragile, and the commitments of all countries in the region are needed to ensure such incidents would not recur, he said.

Vietnam wants the East Sea to be a water of peace and sustainable development, he said.

Phuc also called on ASEAN member countries to help Vietnam successfully fulfill its role as the ASEAN chair in 2020.

Since July Chinese oil survey vessel Haiyang Dizhi 8 and escorts have repeatedly trespassed on Vietnam's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf in the south of the East Sea. 

At the 18th ASEAN-China Senior Officials Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (SOM-DOC) last month, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung said China’s sovereignty infringement in the East Sea is leaving negative impacts on regional peace and security.

"Complicated developments" in the East Sea have left Vietnam’s sovereignty and jurisdiction rights over the waters have been seriously violated, he said.

He also said China’s behaviors in the sea have created disadvantages for negotiations of ASEAN-China Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.

At the U.N. General Assembly last month Deputy PM and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh also stressed the importance of abiding by international laws and not complicating issues in the waterway.

PM Phuc will be attending the ASEAN Summit from November 2 to 4.

After the summit's closing ceremony, there will be a formal ceremony where Thailand will hand over the ASEAN chairmanship to Vietnam.

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