Vietnam’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Le Hoai Trung took the floor at the 23 rd meeting of State Parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which is taking place in New York from June 10-14.

The following is the full text of Ambassador Trung’s statement.

“Mr. President,
Distinguished Delegates,
“First of all, on behalf of the Delegation of Vietnam, I wish to convey our warmest congratulation to you for being elected as President of the Twenty-Third Meeting of the States Parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). I strongly believe that with your vast experience and commitment, you will lead this important Meeting to great success. My Delegation wishes to express our thanks to the UN Legal Counsel, Madame Patricia O’Brien for her continued attention and contribution to the promotion and implementation of the UNCLOS. Vietnam takes this opportunity to warmly congratulate Ecuador , Swaziland and Timor-Leste on becoming States Parties to the UNCLOS.

“My Government highly appreciates the efforts to handle the increasing workload of the International Sea-bed Authority, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the Commission on Limit of the Continental Shelf. In the past year, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea has been able to manifest its role in the consideration of cases brought before it, made important judgments and applied the provisional measures in conformity with the UNCLOS. We welcome the decision of the Commission on Limit of the Continental Shelf to increase the number of meetings and the working time of each session to expedite the consideration of submissions made by States Parties. My Government encourages the Commission to continue to improve its methodology of work and make timely recommendations on measures that States Parties should take to help the Commission fulfill effectively its heavy workload.

“Mr. President,
Distinguished Delegates,
“The debate on the report by the United Nations Secretary-General relating to the implementation of the UNCLOS is an important opportunity for the States Parties to provide information and exchange views on the issues emerging from the implementation of the UNCLOS, draw out good lessons or experiences in dealing with problems and challenges and promoting the goals and principles enshrined in the Convention.

“ Vietnam is a coastal state on the East Sea (or the South China Sea ), a semi-closed sea. Most 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. Therefore, the maintenance of peace, security and cooperation for sustainable use and development of the East Sea on the basis of the UNCLOS are exceptionally important interests of the coastal states. To promote these interests, the ASEAN countries and China signed the Declaration on Conducts of Parties in the South China Sea in 2002, under the framework of which a number of cooperative projects have been discussed, such as exchange of information and data on marine scientific research, joint search and rescue of people in distress at sea, joint researches on marine bio-diversity and developing a Code of Conduct in this sea.

“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. 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. Pending solutions for the disputes on territorial and maritime entitlement, the UNCLOS has provisions requesting the States Parties concerned to negotiate for provisional arrangements aimed at promoting optimum exploitation of the living resources in safe and sustainable conditions. To this end, the concerned States Parties need to cooperate in good faith and may consider mobilizing the technical assistance of appropriate international specialized agencies. 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.

“Finally, Mr. President and Delegates,
“Complying with its obligations under the UNCLOS, in 2012, Vietnam promulgated the Law on Maritime Zones of Vietnam , which took effect on January 1, 2013. The Law sets out the principles to define the limits and the legal regime of the maritime zones of Vietnam, the specific authority of the Vietnamese agencies in charge of managing and monitoring all the activities conducted by individuals and entities in Vietnam’s maritime zones and dealing with violations of the Law. The Law also stipulates the principles governing international cooperation as well as dispute settlements. The provisions of the Law are aimed at protecting and promoting the legitimate rights and interests of Vietnam and other countries in accordance with the UNCLOS. Following the provisions of the Law and the UNCLOS, the Government of Vietnam will continue to improve and implement the National Overall Plan for Sustainable Marine Economic Development, including stepping international cooperation to address the issues of common regional and global concerns in the oceans and seas.

“Thank you for your attention”.-VNA