Int’l law essential to peace, stability in East Sea: conference hinh anh 1Delegates discuss at the ninth East Sea International Conference (Source: VNA)
HCM City (VNA) – International law holds an important role in maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea, heard the ninth East Sea International Conference which ended in Ho Chi Minh City on November 28.

At the event, participating scholars agreed that in 2017, the East Sea situation was calm, but there remains risk of disorder and conflict in the waters.

Differences in countries’ standpoints and consciousness of history and developments in the field and the fact that international law is not fully obeyed make disputes in the sea complex.

Along with traditional challenges, the situation is getting more complicated due to the development of issues such as climate change, terrorism, crime at sea, and the exhaustion of natural resources.

Participants affirmed that international law remains an essential foundation to maintain world order for common prosperity, although the law is not completed yet or is interpreted in different ways depending on each country’s interests.

They suggested the countries involved focus on building and reaching a consensus on interpretation to promote peace and cooperation at sea, instead of finding ways to take advantage of legal loopholes.

The countries which have interests in the East Sea like the US, China, Japan, India and Australia, and ASEAN should take bigger roles in the region, while all countries in the region and the world should take responsibility for upholding for international law through the enforcement of tribunals’ rulings, they added.

Adjusting maritime activities towards turning challenges arising from these activities into opportunities for countries to intensify cooperation and boost development was also discussed by the scholars.

[HCM City int’l conference highlights cooperation on East Sea]

They proposed the countries establish mechanisms for cooperation in less sensitive areas such as environmental protection, pirate fighting, and training for law enforcement forces at sea.

In the field of fishing, the countries need to build strategic trust and cooperate to define the season unsuitable for fishing, ban illegal fishing, and be responsible for monitoring their fishing vessels.

Scholars agreed that cooperation in preventing trans-national crime at sea and the enforcement of regulations of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS) and the Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea of the International Maritime Organisation play an important role in reducing conflicts at sea.

During the conference, scholars also discussed the future of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

They recommended focusing on stipulating principles of not using violence or threatening to use violence, maintaining the status quo and self-restraint, as well as legal foundations for cooperative activities, the lists of activities which are encouraged and not allowed in the East Sea, and codes of conduct for several fields such as fishery, marine environmental protection and maritime safety in accordance with international law and the UNCLOS.

The East Sea is one of the world’s most important shipping lanes and benefits many countries. Therefore, maintaining peace, stability, navigation and over flight securit and freedom in the sea is the top priority.

The parties concerned should display responsibility in abiding by international law in the East Sea. Every extreme reaction or activities defying international law will fuel tensions and complicate the situation.

In recent years, the East Sea issue has attracted much attention from the international community.

The ninth East Sea International Conference took place in Ho Chi Minh City on November 27-28, with seven working sessions focusing on the theme “Cooperation for Regional Security and Development”.

The event was part of efforts to contribute to boost international cooperation for peace and stability in the East Sea.-VNA