Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung emphasised measures for East Asia to maintain its sustainable growth and the ongoing serious developments in the East Sea following China’s illegal rig placement into Vietnam’s waters in his remarks delivered at the opening session of the World Economic Forum on East Asia 2014 in the Philippines on May 22.

The following is the full text of the remarks.

“Your Excellency President Benigno Aquino III,
Professor ‎Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the WEF
Excellencies leaders and distinguished delegates,
It gives me great pleasure to attend this 23 rd World Economic Forum on East Asia organized in Manila .This event indicates the interest of the international business community in the Philippines’ reform efforts and fast growth in the recent years. On behalf of the Vietnamese Government and people, I wish to extend the warm congratulations to the Philippines . May I also take this opportunity to express my high appreciation of the active contributions made by the WEF and Professor ‎Klaus Schwab to the promotion of the region’s dynamic development.

As this Conference is convened, Asia – Pacific remains a region of fast and dynamic economic growth in the world. However, we also see signs of slowing down in some regional economies. One of the reason is the drive by the current growth model is ebbing away, and it is time for the region to create new drives to regain rapid and sustainable growth. I believe that these drives come from globalization and more extensive international integration in parallel with reform of market economy institutions towards higher quality and standards as well as social progress and equity, better environment protection, and implementation of the UN MDGs in a more rapid and sustainable manner.

At present, countries in the region are capitalizing on the vibrant trend of multi-layered economic cooperation and integration for transformation into new engines for sustainable development. Vietnam , for its part, has been enjoying firm socio-political stability, stable macro-economy with high growth rate, and a surge in exports and FDI inflow. The country has also been actively making contributions to the establishment of the ASEAN Community by 2015, promoting negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and FTAs with the EU, ROK, and the Customs Union of Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan. I believe this provides good opportunities for foreign companies to expand their business and investment in Vietnam as well as other countries in the Asia- Pacific.

Growth engine is also generated by structural reform and reform of economic institutions. Most countries are giving priority to good governance, infrastructure development, education and training, healthcare, science and technology, and agriculture. The WEF on East Asia this year’s focus on “leveraging growth for equitable progress” is highly relevant. Vietnam ’s experience showed that domestic reform coupled with international integration is an effective way to generate strong drive for fast and sustainable development. At present, we are continuing to complete institutions of market economy and transform growth model in order to build a competitive economy with social progress and equity, and environment friendliness.
Ladies and gentlemen,

Development is not possible without peace and stability. Vietnam always strives for peace and stability, and is optimistic about the future prospect of cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. However, looking at the overall picture of the region recently, I totally share the concern of Professor Claus Schwab expressed at beginning of this Opening Plenary and at the WEF Davos early this year that the risk of instability is rising. In fact, disputes over sovereignty and territory in the East Sea and East China Sea have been evolving with complexity and seriously threatening peace, stability and security in the region.
Today, over three fourths of global goods are shipped via maritime transportation, of which two thirds travel via the East Sea . Instability or conflict in the area will disrupt this huge flow of goods and have unforeseeable impacts on regional and world economies. It may even reverse the trend of global economic recovery.

I would like to draw your attention to the extremely serious situation going on in the East Sea . Since May 1st 2014, China has deployed more than 130 ships, including military vessels and planes to guard the placement of its oil drilling rig at the location which is 80 nautical miles deep into the Vietnamese exclusive economic zone prescribed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS). This gravely violates the international law and the Declaration on the Conducts of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), to which China is also a signatory. The acts by China have been directly threatening peace, stability and maritime security and safety, and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea.

Vietnam always wants peace and friendship, and has exercised utmost restraint, showed every gesture of goodwill and exhausted all dialogue channels to communicate with the Chinese authorities of different levels for expressing protest and demanding China to immediately withdraw its oil drilling rig and escorting vessels from the Vietnamese waters, and observe the international law, including UNCLOS 1982. Nevertheless, up to now, China has failed to respond to Vietnam ’s legitimate demand. On the contrary, China has been slandering and blaming Vietnam while continuing to use force, escalate its increasingly dangerous and serious acts of intimidation and violation. We remain determined to defend our sovereignty by peaceful means in conformity with the international law.

The entire Vietnamese nation has been protesting against the wrongdoings of China. In various localities of the country, the people have spontaneously launched demonstrations, in which some people violated the law. The Vietnamese Government has timely contained the violations and strictly sanctioned the violators in line with the law. As a result, the situation has become totally stable. The enterprises have received appropriate assistance and most of them have resumed normal business and production activities.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We sincerely thank ASEAN, countries and friends in the world for their sympathy and support to Vietnam’s protection of its national sovereignty and legitimate interest in conformity with the international law. We look forward to the continued valuable support. The solidarity and cooperation of the international community is essential for preventing acts of international law violations.

It is hopeful that you and the WEF will continue to make positive contributions to the building of an Asia – Pacific of peace, stability, cooperation and prosperous development.

On behalf of the Vietnamese Government, may I wish you all good health, happiness and success. May the Conference be crowned with success.

Thank you”.-VNA