The maintenance of peace, security and cooperation for sustainable use and development of the East Sea on the basis of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is of exceptional importance to coastal states, said Vietnam’s representative at a recent UN meeting.

Addressing the 23rd meeting of State Parties to the UNCLOS, which is taking place in New York from June 10-14, Vietnam’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Le Hoai Trung said m ost of the East Sea’s coastal states, including Vietnam, are developing countries and States Parties to the UNCLOS. Incomes generated from the use and exploitation of this sea make important contribution to the economies of these coastal states.

“Just like other regions of the world, in the East Sea , fishing is a traditional means of living of hundreds of millions of people, and many of them are the poor coastal communities. Providing safe and stable conditions for fishermen when they go out to the sea to earn for their living are responsibilities for all governments,” the ambassador said.

However, the Vietnamese diplomat noted that in recent years, the East Sea witnessed numerous incidents whereas fishermen, operating in their traditional fishing grounds, which may fall within persistent disputes on territorial and maritime entitlement, were harassed, arrested and detained or even became victims of the use of arms.

Therefore, he called on coastal nations, pending solutions for territorial and maritime disputes, to seriously abide by the Convention’s principles, including the negotiations for provisional arrangements for fishing activities and to ensure safety for fishermen.

“Conducting unilateral coercive actions, such as imposing fishing bans or using military or para-military ships to enforce the domestic laws in disputed areas shall only further complicate the situation, in contravention of the purposes and principles of the UNCLOS”, said Ambassador Trung.

The ambassador took the occasion to introduce Vietnam’s maritime law, which came into effect on January 1, 2013, affirming that its provisions are completely in line with the principles mentioned in the 1982 UNCLOS.-VNA