Academics and experts at the sixth international workshop on the East Sea called upon all parties concerned to refrain from implementing unilateral policies that could alter the status quo in the region.

During the second day of the two-day symposium in the central city of Da Nang on November 18, participants discussed the East Sea issue in international relations, claims to the East Sea and disputes, and international legal regulations on territory, waters and the sky.

Many academics shared the view that due to its strategic importance the East Sea had become an indirect strategic competitive arena for global powers.

Meanwhile, others said the complicated development in the East Sea opened up opportunities for ASEAN member states and their partners inside and outside the region to play a more active role in helping the parties involved find solutions to the issue.

The participants emphasised that building an international law-based legal order for the East Sea indicated a long-term commitment requiring innovative solutions from all sides, both inside and outside the region, who share a common interest in maintaining peace, stability, and maritime security, safety and freedom.

Many proposed establishing new management mechanisms to deal with the crisis at sea. Furthermore, they suggested encouraging all parties concerned to have flexible cooperative attitudes and to employ widely-recognised international laws to handle differences and disputes in the East Sea.

They stressed that building large-scale man-made islands with a view to turning underground shoals and reefs into military bases in the East Sea, as well as the establishment of air defence identification zones, went against international law. These actions would undermine political trust and could complicate the situation.

The most practical solution was to devise a code of conduct to ensure the parties concerned act in compliance with international law and did not escalate disputes in the East Sea, the participants said.

Entitled "East Sea: Cooperation for Regional Security and Development," the symposium is part of efforts to exchange opinions and receive input from experts on the East Sea issue./.