The contents of the recent Vietnam-China agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea issues are in total conformity with the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and Vietnam’s consistent standpoint on the peaceful settlement of East Sea disputes.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi made this affirmation in Hanoi on Oct. 20 while answering reporters’ question on Vietnam’s response to comments in several foreign newspapers that the agreement is a withdrawal from the DOC and that Vietnam and China agreed to address East Sea issues bilaterally, even for disputed areas between numerous sides.

According to Nghi, in this agreement, Vietnam and China agreed to only solve sea-related disputes between them bilaterally and disputes that relate to other countries will be resolved through friendly talks and negotiations (Point 3 of the Agreement).

He affirmed Vietnam ’s consistent standpoint on the peaceful settlement of East Sea disputes is that disputes relating to two countries will be solved bilaterally by the two concerned countries and disputes relating to many countries will be discussed for settlement by all concerned countries, while issues on a regional or global scale should have suitable multilateral approaches.

“Therefore, an opinion that the above-mentioned agreement is a withdrawal from the DOC is groundless,” he stressed.

On the significance of the agreement, Nghi affirmed that the signing of the agreement reflected positive progress in the negotiation process on the settlement of sea issues.

The agreement has defined basic principles guiding the settlement of disputes in the East Sea through peaceful measures on the basis of international law and with the interests of concerned parties being taken into consideration, he said.

To find a transitional or long-term solution for the East Sea dispute requires efforts and goodwill from both sides, he added.

The two sides should seriously implement the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the DOC as mentioned in the agreement and respect the principles of international law, said Nghi.

Regarding reporters’ question on information relating to the contents of the draft Law of the Sea, the spokesman said that like other coastal countries, Vietnam ’s building of a law regulating sea-related socio-economic, security and defence activities is a necessary and normal process in line with international practices and meets the demand for national construction and development.

Like other bills, the process of creating, considering, collecting ideas and approving the Law of the Sea has been implemented in conformity with the regulations of the Vietnamese law, he said.

Based on preparations for the draft law, the NA will consider and decide which bill to be put on the table or adopted, he said./.