Vietnamese deputy foreign minister Nguyen Quoc Dung has called on all parties to join hands and fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the South China Sea, known in Vietnam as the East Sea, refrain from militarization and not complicate the situation in the disputed waters.
Dung was speaking at the 17th ASEAN-China Senior Officials Meeting on the Implementation of the DOC, attended by representatives of all 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) members and hosts China. The meeting was held May 17-18 in China’s Hangzhou Province.
Representatives of 10 ASEAN countries and China pose for photos at the 18th ASEAN-China Senior Officials Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in China’s Hangzhou Province. Photo courtesy of the Vietnamese Embassy in China
Dung expressed concern over the complications in the South China Sea caused by strategic competitions among powerful countries, unilateral actions that went against international law, especially the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea – UNCLOS 1982, as well as militarization. These actions hinder the maintenance of peace and stability in the region and impact the COC negotiations, he said.
South China Sea faces many challenges now, including illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, pollution and plastic waste, Dung said.
Officials attending the meeting highlighted the importance of fully and effectively adhering to the DOC in ensuring security, safety, freedom of navigation and aviation in the waters. The meeting approved Vietnam’s proposal on organizing a seminar on fair and humane treatment of fishermen.
Regarding the COC, the Vietnamese deputy foreign minister urged the ASEAN and China to do their best to achieve an effective code of conduct that is in line with international law, including the internationally recognized UNCLOS.
Vietnam will host the 18th ASEAN-China Senior Officials Meeting on the implementation of the DOC later this year, Dung said.
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