Australia, RoK voice concern over East Sea dispute hinh anh 1RoK Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha  (Photo: EPA/VNA)

Sydney (VNA) – Australia and the Republic of Korea (RoK) expressed their grave concern over recent developments in the East Sea, and affirmed the importance to maintain and promote peace and stability in the waters, at the fourth Australia – RoK Foreign and Defence Ministers Meeting in Sydney.

In a joint statement announced on December 12, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds, and their Korean counterparts Kang Kyung-wha and Jeong Kyeong-doo emphasised the significance of upholding freedom of navigation and overflight, and the need for states to resolve disputes peacefully in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The ministers acknowledged ongoing discussions on a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea, and called for a COC to be consistent with international law, including UNCLOS, to respect the rights and interests of all states under international law, and to reinforce existing inclusive regional architecture.

The joint statement also clarified the two countries’ mutual interest in promoting a strong and resilient regional structure, including responding to challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. Both sides reiterated their strong commitment to ASEAN centrality and the ASEAN-led regional architecture, particularly the East Asia Summit.

The ministers welcomed the adoption of the East Asia Summit Leaders’ Statement on Cooperation to Combat Transnational Crime (on November 4), and the ASEAN Regional Forum Statement on Promoting the Women, Peace and Security Agenda (on August 2) that both nations had co-sponsored./.