Ambassador Ton Sinh Thai (Source: VNA)
New Delhi (VNA) – A seminar titled “East Sea: security and economic implications” took place in New Delhi, India on February 24, attracting prestigious scholars from India and diplomatic corps from Russia, Japan, Australia and Singapore.

The seminar, co-hosted by the ML Sondhi Institute for Asia-Pacific Affairs, the National Maritime Fund and the Centre for China Analysis and Strategy, featured two thematic sessions on India’s policies towards the East Sea, and momentum for regional security.

Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh affirmed that Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes belong to Vietnam. Vietnam has sufficient historical and legal evidence to affirm its sovereignty over the areas.

Vietnam firmly safeguards its sovereignty over the archipelagoes and stands ready to cooperate with claimants to peacefully settle territorial disputes in Truong Sa and Hoang Sa in accordance with international law, he said.

He urged parties concerned to maintain status quo, refrain from threat or the use of force to settle disputes so as to prevent complicating the situation in the region, while seriously and fully abiding by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and promptly reaching an agreed Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea.

The ambassador declared that Vietnam has sovereignty rights and jurisdiction rights within its 200 nautical-mile exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf as stipulated in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Vietnam determinedly defends its rights and maintains regular activities in its territorial waters while continuing to work with other countries, including India, to explore and tap natural resources in its economic exclusive zone.

Vietnam backs the compliance and full implementation of the 1982 UNCLOS and continuously exerts itself to turn the East Sea into a region of peace, stability and cooperation for mutual development, he stated.

He also took the occasion to express his concern over China’s militarisation in the East Sea, which he said, has not only violated Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa but also threatened peace and stability in the region as well as maritime and aviation security, safety and freedom in the East Sea, eroding strategic trust and seriously impacting peace, security, development and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

Several Indian scholars were also concerned over China’s unilateral action in the East Sea and called for peaceful solutions to settle the disputes and promote regional peace, stability and prosperity.

Prof. G.V.C. Naidu from Jewaharlal Nehru University proposed that the ASEAN should play the key role in settling disputes in the East Sea and in pushing talks for an early completion of a legally-binding COC, thus ensuring security, peace and stability in the region.-VNA