The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1982, though not fully satisfying the interests and objectives of every State, does stand the test of time and has been the basis for national, regional and global action and cooperation in the marine sector, said Vietnamese Ambassador Bui The Giang.

Ambassador Giang, who is Charge d’Affaires of Vietnam’s permanent mission to the United Nations, made the statement at the 66th General Assembly session’s debate on “Oceans and the Law of the Sea”.

“In many ways, the Convention constitutes an immense positive contribution to the promotion of international peace and security. It provides universally recognized legal framework for coastal states to establish and exercise rights and obligations in the maritime areas under national jurisdiction,” he said.

The Ambassador went on to say that the Convention advances the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes and provides for a mandatory system to be applied by States Parties to settle any dispute between them. The provisions of the Convention are closely interrelated and form an integral package, thus not allowing for the possibility of a State Party to pick what it likes and to disregard what it does not like. States Parties, in exercising the rights under the Convention, must be willing to shoulder the corresponding obligations.

He underlined the common view about the enormous significance of sustainable use and development of the oceans and seas, with the maintenance of peace, stability and order at sea being an inseparable part thereof.

The ambassador said: “As a coastal state with a long coastline washed by the East Sea, Vietnam is pleased to note the continued development of regional and international cooperation, including in the uses and management of this sea. In this regard, a key factor lies in the respect of the legal order established by the UNCLOS, to which most States surrounding the Eastern Sea are Parties.

“In the Eastern Sea, there exist difficult disputes over territorial sovereignty and maritime boundaries, which if not properly managed and settled could negatively impact regional peace, security and stability, hinder the legitimate uses of the sea and the resources therein for the developmental needs of the coastal states, as well as other cooperative efforts for sustainable development of the sea,” Ambassador Giang said.

He affirmed Vietnam has worked tirelessly for peaceful solutions to existing disputes in accordance with international law, including the UNCLOS, and acceptable to all parties concerned.

Through peaceful negotiations, Vietnam has successfully concluded agreements on the delineation of maritime boundaries in the Tonkin Gulf with China and in the overlapped continental shelf with Indonesia, and on the joint development of the overlapped continental shelf with Malaysia and Thailand pending final boundary delimitation, he added.

The diplomat said Vietnam commends the adoption of the Guidelines for the implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (the DOC) and the stated commitments to working together towards the early finalization of a Code of Conduct.

He affirmed Vietnam will continue to join efforts with interested parties, particularly our neighboring countries, to create an environment conducive to peace, cooperation, development and ensuring the legitimate rights and interests of all States in the Eastern Sea./.