German expert calls for building trust, COC negotiations to address East Sea issue hinh anh 1Dr. Gerhard Will (Photo: VNA)

Berlin (VNA) -
 Dr. Gerhard Will, a German expert on the East Sea, has said that China should quit its militarisation in the East Sea and show its willingness and cooperation capacity in security and economy on the basis of equality and the observance of international law.

The expert made the comments in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency, amidst the complex development of the East Sea.

A former expert of Germany’s Science and Politics Foundation (SWP), he also stressed the significance of building a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), saying negotiations on the document play an important role in settling the East Sea issues.

One of the conditions to completely address the disputes is trust between relevant sides, he said, adding this would make international law-based negotiations a success.

The scholar also highlighted the crucial role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the negotiations, and suggested ASEAN member countries remain united in this regard.

Once the countries reach consensus, they would engage in negotiations with China, he further explained.

In addition, ASEAN needs to build a sustainable security policy system, with the participation of not only countries like the US and China but also Japan, Australia and India.

The expert said the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)’s ruling in the case filed by the Philippines is an important international document that clearly points out the illegality of China’s so called “nine-dash line.”

The situation in the East Sea has developed complicatedly after China used a coast guard vessel to hit and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat that was operating as normal in waters of Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.

For this issue, spokesperson of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang said Vietnam has sufficient legal grounds and historical evidence to affirm its sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes in accordance with international law. 

Such an act by the China coast guard ship violates Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa, causing damage, threatening the safety of life and the legitimate interests of Vietnamese fishermen.

It also went against the common perception of senior leaders of the two countries on the humane treatment of fishermen and the Vietnam-China agreement on the basic principles guiding the settlement of maritime issues, and in contrary to the spirit of the Declaration of Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea (DOC), which complicates the situation and is not conducive to the bilateral relations as well as the maintenance of peace, stability and cooperation in the East Sea.

Earlier, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted the Chinese Embassy and handed a diplomatic note opposing the Chinese act and asking the Chinese side to clarify and strictly handle public employees and the coast guard vessel involved in the incident, not to repeat such actions, and make satisfactory compensation for losses caused to the Vietnamese fishermen./.