The fourth annual conference on the East Sea has brought together leading scholars from the US, China, India, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam to seek measures to ease tensions in the region.

The July 10-11 conference in Washington DC, the US, hosted by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), highlighted recent trends in the East Sea and US policy to the issue.

Participants analysed the recent developments in the East Sea, especially China’s illegal placement of its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 deep inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf and the Philippines’ lawsuit against China at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

They put forth recommendations, particularly for the US, on measures against China’s increasingly aggressive acts, contributing to maintaining stability in the region.

At the event, Vietnamese researchers Tran Truong Thuy from the Foundation for East Sea Studies and Vu Hai Dang from the Vietnam Lawyers Association recommended the US and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) take the lead in building a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) and support peaceful solutions to the disputes, including the use of an international arbitral mechanism.

According to US congressman Mike Rogers, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the more confrontations in the East Sea last, the more likely armed conflicts occur.

He urged the US administration to raise its direct and stronger voice towards China.

Meanwhile, Dr. Patrick Cronin from the Centre for a New American Security said Washington should continue maintaining its presence in the region and closely coordinate with countries concerned in seeking ways to change China’s coercive calculations.

China will continue ignore concerns raised by its neighbouring countries in the East Sea and can use its economic strength as a leverage in relations with them, said Christopher K. Johnson from the CSIS.

Beijing will also seek to prevent ASEAN consensus through economic dependence, he added.

On July 11, the conference is to discuss perspectives on US policy towards the East Sea as well as habits of cooperation and confidence building in addressing this burning issue.-VNA