The Maritime Institute of Malaysia held the 3rd East Sea conference in Kuala Lumpur on September 2 – 3, debating the sustainable use of the East Sea in an era of dynamic geo-strategic change.

Some 160 scholars, researchers and diplomats from around 20 countries discussed the impacts of regional and international geo-politics on the East Sea, measures to increase cooperation on resource protection, security challenges in the East Sea, disputes and solutions, and measures to address challenges.

Opening the event, the Director General of the Malaysian Foreign Ministry’s Department of Maritime Affairs, Zulkifli Adnan, emphasised the importance of the East Sea for trade, navigation, resources and the environment, and touched upon the strategic factors affecting these waters.

He said whenever a country acts violently in the East Sea, the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) unite in a common voice on the matter, such as the joint statement of ASEAN Foreign Ministers issued at their 47 th meeting in Myanmar recently, or the acceleration of negotiations on a code of conduct of parties (COC) in these waters.

He regarded the agreement reached by ASEAN and China to soon conclude COC negotiations as a positive sign and stated that both sides need to hold on to this momentum.

During the conference, experts from Malaysia, Singapore, the US, China, the Philippines, Australia and Vietnam made concrete proposals to sustainably exploit the East Sea and foster regional security and cooperation.

They said the countries of the region should strengthen their ties to improve management of the sea and ensure peace and stability in these waters in the times ahead.

Nguyen Hung Son, Deputy Director General of the Institute for Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies, told Vietnam News Agency correspondents that Vietnam had presented its views, particularly its wish to increase control of the East Sea situation and ensure compliance with international law, which would build strategic trust and reinforce cooperation, thus ensuring peace and stability in the East Sea.-VNA