Following two days of discussions, the fifth international workshop on the East Sea successfully wrapped up in the capital city on November 12.

During the event, delegates focused on recent developments in the East Sea , the role of ASEAN and major powers and international law including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) whilst recommending means for the maintenance of peace and stability in the East Sea .

Many of the scholars said the situation in The East Sea improved this year while some others said they see a looming risk of unstability. China has worked to improve relations with neighbours including India and Vietnam as well as start consultations with ASEAN in the realisation of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

They shared the view that the East Sea still remains a hot spot of disputes, therefore, ASEAN should maintain solidarity to uphold its central role in the region.

Scholars emphasised the compliance with international law in general and UNCLOS in particular, asserting that China ’s claim of the U-shape line is unclear and illegitimate. However, they suggested the involved parties should make their territorial claims clear in order to define disputed waters and form a joint exploitation model in the East Sea .

They hailed the progress of the implementation of the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) as well as the prospect of the negotiations for the COC signing. They held that the COC needs to have clear regulations in order to adjust behaviours of the involved in overlapping waters in hopes to ensure all parties’ benefits.

Proposals for fishery cooperation, a peaceful marine park, and joint studies on geographic conditions in the East Sea were also made during the workshop.-VNA