Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich has called for all concerned parties to act responsibility to maintain order and make the South China Sea “a sea of peace, cooperation and friendship.”
Addressing the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Saturday, Minister Lich said: “The peaceful means of dialogue, instead of confrontation, the threat to use force or unilateral action, is really the best solution, which can resolve multiple issues on the basis of common interest, respect for international laws and regional institutions.”
He called for responsibility from all concerned parties in building order at sea to make the South China Sea, which Vietnam calls the East Sea, “a sea of peace, cooperation and friendship.”
Lich said militarizing acts on disputed areas in the East Sea a serious breach of the sovereignty of another country and a serious violation of international laws.
“Vietnam pursues a defensive and peaceful defense policy, does not take sides with one country against another country; does not use force for threaten the use of force,” he said.
Speaking at an earlier session on Saturday, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had condemned coercive Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea and warned that the Pentagon would “compete vigorously” if needed.
“China’s policy in the South China Sea stands in stark contrast to the openness that our strategy promotes, it calls into question China’s broader goals,” said Mattis.
Last month, China’s air force landed bombers on disputed islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of a training exercise, triggering concern in Vietnam and the Philippines, according to Reuters.
Satellite photographs taken on May 12 showed China could have deployed truck-mounted surface-to-air missiles or anti-ship cruise missiles on Woody Island in the Paracels of Vietnam.
U.S. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis speaks at the IISS Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore June 2, 2018. Photo by Reuters/Edgar Su
Defense ministers and top-ranking officials from 40 countries are gathering in Singapore to attend the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s largest annual security forum, which started on June 1. The three-day security and defense conference has been held every year at the Shangri-La hotel since 2002.
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