A workshop focusing on recent tensions in the East Sea was held on May 20 in Brussels, Belgium by the Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations and the Philippine Embassy in the country.

In his speech at the event, Antonio T. Carpio, a legal expert from the Philippines’ Supreme Court gave detailed analysis of current disputes at the East Sea basing on three types of documents: historical documentations and ancient maps; official documentations and declarations of relevant governments; and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

These documentations show that China’s territorial and sovereignty claims in the East Sea have no legal foundation, he stressed.

Regarding China’s recent fishing ban in the East Sea, Erik Franckx, a lecturer from Brussels Freedom University said as all coastal nations have the right to exploit seafood resources in the sea, China’s action would further fuel tensions in the region.

Talking to a Vietnam News Agency correspondent, Vietnamese Honour Consul to Belgium Baron de Grand Ry said that Vietnamese fishermen have the right to conduct offshore fishing activities in the East Sea, adding that Vietnam and relevant countries should consider adopting a diplomatic agreement with China in order to avoid conflicts.

The same day, the Euro Presse Image ran an article on a similar workshop held in Paris, France on May 19.

The article recalled recent sea-related developments in the region, including China’s unilateral claim of an air defence identification zone over disputed waters with Japan and China’s illegal placement of its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 in 2014. It said these acts escalated tension in the region and prompted other regional countries to increase their military capacity.

At the seminar, participants called on the European Union, including France, to join global efforts to deal with disputes in the East Sea based on the 1982 UNCLOS.-VNA