Vietnam and other ASEAN countries have regularly held consultations on East Sea issues, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi affirmed at the ministry’s regular press conference in Hanoi on November 22.

Responding to questions from reporters that after the 21 st ASEAN Summit concluded, ASEAN countries claiming sovereignty over the East Sea will meet in Manila, the Philippines, on December 12, 2012, to discuss the issue, Nghi said that the Philippines has informed Vietnam of the issue. Vietnam is waiting for the official initiation, which states the manner and time of the meeting and its contents.

He stressed that the consultation between ASEAN countries on the East Sea issue is a normal and regular act to promote the maintenance of peace, stability, maritime security and safety in the East Sea . This is to push up the peaceful settlement of disputes on the basis of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982) and existing agreements and commitments such as the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties on the East Sea (DOC), the ASEAN Declaration on Six-Point Principles and the latest Joint Statement of the 15th ASEAN-China Summit on the 10th anniversary of DOC.

The spokesman made clear Vietnam ’s viewpoint on China ’s issuance of e-passports to its citizens with a map of China including the dashed line.

The above deed by China violated Vietnam ’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes as well as its sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over related waters in the East Sea , Nghi stressed.

Representatives from the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry met with representatives of the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi to hand a diplomatic note protesting the action and requesting China to annul the contents printed in the above-mentioned e-passport, he added.

In response to the allegation that the Vietnamese Government’s issuance of Decision No. 20 is to limit foreign TV programmes, especially news, Nghi stated that the editing and translation of foreign TV programmes on pay TV channels have been stipulated in previously-issued legal documents, including Decision No. 79 issued by the Prime Minister on July 18, 2002.

He said that regulations on managing pay TV activities attached to the Prime Minister’s Decision No. 20 dated March 24, 2011, was to detail editing and translation requirements for existing foreign programmes in order to give Vietnamese residents better access to foreign-language programmes.

The spokesman affirmed Vietnam ’s policy of facilitating foreign businesses’ operations in the country in different fields, including the television industry.

There are more than 70 foreign TV programmes registering to provide pay TV services in Vietnam, Nghi said, adding that the operations of many foreign pay TV channels will encourage and create conditions for the development of the pay TV industry in Vietnam as well as help local people gain better access to overseas information.

In the process of implementing the regulation, Vietnam ’s authorised agencies continue to acquire and consider opinions contributed by concerned parties, he said.

In reply to reporters’ question on Vietnam ’s stance on the recent Israel-Palestine ceasefire agreement, the spokesman said that Vietnam is deeply concerned with the serious violence between Israel and Palestine , and the killing of hundreds of civilians, including women and children.

Vietnam condemns all military attacks causing losses of life and property to civilians, applauds efforts to bring peace and stability to the region and calls on concerned parties to respect the newly reached ceasefire agreement, he said./.VNA