After four years of preparations and nine years of negotiations, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982) was signed by 107 countries, including Vietnam in 1982 in Montego Bay, Jamaica. As a coastal country, Vietnam has always been determined to comply with the convention.

Vietnam on July 27, 1994 submitted a legal deposit on approving the UNCLOS 1982 to the United Nations Secretariat. The convention lays a crucial legal framework for participating countries in using, exploiting and managing seas and oceans. It also sets out procedures for settling marine disputes among countries using peaceful measures. In case the measures come to a dead end, disputes would be resolved via international arbitration.

According to the convention, Vietnam is entitled to territorial waters of 12 nautical miles, an Exclusive Economic Zone of 200 nautical miles and continental shelf of 200 nautical miles. As such, Vietnam is allowed to exercise its rights within an area of nearly one million square kilometres.

Given the complicated situation in the East Sea recently, relevant parties’ observance of the convention are important in maintaining regional peace, stability, security and maritime safety.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is an important component in the international legal system. Since being introduced, it has become a firm and effective legal framework to resolve marine issues.-VNA