Vietnamese Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh (Photo: VNA)
New Delhi (VNA) – The tension in the East Sea emerged as a key security challenge that could hinder the dream of an Asian-Pacific community, Vietnamese Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh said at a dialogue security challenges in the Asian-Pacific region held recently in New Delhi, India.

Themed “The Asia-Pacific Century: India and Big Power Engagement”, the December 19 event drew numerous experts and diplomats from China, the US, Russia and ASEAN member countries.

In his speech, Ambassador Ton Sinh Thanh noted that peace and stability in Southeast Asia, particularly in the East Sea, is an inseparable part of peace and security in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

The Ambassador voiced his concerns over complicated developments in the East Sea, citing China’s construction of artificial islands on an unprecedented scale in the East Sea as a contributor to worsening the situation there.

This might lead to a new arms race and conflicts due to erroneous calculations, he said, warning that tensions in the East Sea not only threaten security, safety of navigation, aviation and trade, but also reduce strategic trust of the involved parties and widely affect peace, security, development and cooperation in the region.

The diplomat called on the involved parties to strictly abide by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to ensure peace, navigation security and freedom in the East Sea .

He confirmed that Vietnam has full legal foundation and historical evidence to prove its sovereignty and jurisdiction over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes. The country is resolved to protect its sovereignty, sovereign rights, jurisdiction and legitimate interests in the East Sea, he said.

The ambassador also stressed that Vietnam will spare no effort to make the East Sea a place of peace, stability, cooperation and development, as well as settle any disputes via peaceful means and in line with international law.

Ensuring peace and stability is the interest and responsibility of countries in and out of the region, he said, adding that Vietnam welcomes constructive engagement of the parties involved to make the dream of an Asian-Pacific community come true.

Prof. Baladash Ghoshal from the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) and Profl. GVC Naidu from Jawaharlal Nehru University told Vietnam News Agency correspondents that the East Sea issue has become one of the region’s biggest security challenges. They called for increased cooperation among nations to reach a Code of Conduct in the East Sea which is significant to peace, stability, and prosperity in the region.-VNA