Vietnam and China signed an Agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related issues in Beijing on October 11, 2011. Following is the full text of the agreement:

The delegation of the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the delegation of the Government of the People’s Republic of China agree that the satisfactory settlement of sea-related issues between Vietnam and China is suitable for the basic interests and common aspirations of the two countries’ people and helpful for regional peace, stability, co-operation and development. The two sides agree, on the basis of common perceptions of the Vietnamese and Chinese leaders reached on sea-related issues and “The 1993 Agreement on Basic Principles for the Settlement of Border Territory Issues between the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the People’s Republic of China”, to solve sea-related issues pursuant to the following principles:

1. Taking the general situation of the two countries’ relationship as the key, originating from a strategic and overall attitude under the guidance of the motto, “Friendly neighbourliness, comprehensive co-operation, long-term stability and looking towards the future” and the spirit of “Good neighbours, good friends, good comrades and good partners”, and persistently pursuing friendly talks and negotiations to properly settle sea-related issues, thus making the East Sea a territory of peace, friendship and co-operation and contributing to the development of the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, as well as to regional peace and stability.

2. In the spirit of fully respecting legal evidence regarding other relevant factors such as history, and at the same time taking into account each other’s reasonable concerns with a constructive attitude and an attempt to expand common perceptions, narrow differences and continuously accelerate negotiations. Based on a legal regime and principles defined by international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, making efforts to seek basic and long-term solutions acceptable to both sides for sea-related disputes.

3. In negotiations on sea-related issues, the two sides seriously abide by agreements and common perceptions reached by their high-ranking leaders and seriously implement the principles and spirit of the “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea ” (DOC).

For sea-related disputes between Vietnam and China, the two sides shall solve them through friendly talks and negotiations. Disputes relating to other countries shall be settled through negotiations with other concerned parties.

4. In the process of seeking basic and long-term solutions for sea-related issues, in the spirit of mutual respect, equal and mutually beneficial treatment, the two sides actively discuss transitional and temporary measures that do not affect the stances and policies of the two sides, including studies and discussions on cooperation for mutual development based on principles described in Article 2 of this Agreement.

5. Addressing sea-related issues in succession and progress with easy issues first and difficult issues later. Firmly speeding up the demarcation of territorial waters off the Tonkin Gulf and actively discussing co-operation for mutual development on these waters. Actively boosting co-operation in less sensitive fields, such as sea-related environment protection, sea-related science research, search and rescue at sea, and prevention and minimisation of damage caused by natural disasters. Attempting to enhance mutual trust to facilitate the settlement of more difficult issues.

6. The two sides in turn conduct periodical meetings between heads of government-level border negotiation delegations twice a year and extraordinary meetings if necessary. The two sides agree to set up a hotline mechanism between the government-level delegations to exchange and properly deal with sea-related issues in a timely manner.-VNA