Vietnam, Thailand call for early conclusion to code of conduct in disputed waters

By Khanh Lynh   August 17, 2017 | 08:00 pm PT
Vietnam, Thailand call for early conclusion to code of conduct in disputed waters
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) is received by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (R) at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand August 17, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Lillian Suwanrumpha/Pool
The prime ministers of both countries reaffirmed the importance of peace in the South China Sea.

The Vietnamese and Thai prime ministers on Thursday expressed their support for a code of conduct to be agreed upon quickly between the  Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China regarding the South China Sea, which is known in Vietnam as the East Sea.

The statement was issued during Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc's official three-day visit to Thailand, according to Vietnam's foreign ministry.

Phuc and his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-cha both reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, security, stability and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. The two prime ministers called for the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

The leaders also emphasized the need for all countries involved to raise mutual trust, exercise self-restraint, avoid the use of violence and settle disputes by peaceful means and in accordance with international laws, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Both sides expressed their commitment to cooperate with each other and with the other ASEAN members to maintain and promote the association's central role in dealing with threats to the region's peace and security.

Regarding bilateral cooperation, they also agreed to strengthen trade and investment ties. The two countries have set a bilateral trade target of $20 billion for 2020.

The two prime ministers emphasized security and defense cooperation as one of the main pillars of their strategic partnership. 

Vietnam and Thailand also agreed to promote multimodal transport links between the two countries, including land, sea and air routes. A Thailand-Laos-Vietnam bus route, a Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam coastal route and a new direct flight between Thailand's Chiang Mai City and Vietnam's central province of Quang Binh were cited as examples of their cooperation.

In their meeting, Prime Minister Phuc asked his Thai counterpart to provide favorable conditions for the Vietnamese community in Thailand to grow and integrate, as well as issue travel permits to elderly Vietnamese expatriates in Thailand.

Prime Minister Prayut also confirmed that he would be attending the 2017 APEC Summit in Da Nang in November.

Earlier this month, the foreign ministers of ASEAN and China adopted a negotiating framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea, a move they hailed as progress.

The adoption of the framework created a solid foundation for negotiations that could start this year, according to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

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