Activities in East Sea must strictly comply with international law


Vietnam affirmed its consistent view that activities taking place in the East Sea need to strictly abide by international law whilst respecting the sovereign rights and jurisdiction over Vietnamese territorial waters as established in accordance with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Deputy Spokesperson of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pham Thu Hang

Pham Thu Hang, deputy spokesperson of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the statement at a routine press briefing of the Foreign Ministry in Hanoi on April 6 in reply to a reporter's question about Vietnamese comments on information that the Chinese research and survey ship, also known as the Haiyang Dizhi 4, had been operating in the country’s exclusive economic zone, with the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs then commenting on this information.

According to Hang, the nation’s maritime law enforcement forces said that the ship had since left Vietnamese waters.

Regarding information that the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) announced a list of 33 "regular survey" areas, including some lines in the East Sea covering the Spratly (Truong Sa) archipelago and Vietnamese waters, Hang stated, "As it has repeatedly affirmed, Vietnam has a full legal basis and historical evidence to affirm its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracels) and Truong Sa archipelagoes in accordance with International law, as well as sovereign rights and jurisdiction over Vietnam's waters which are established in accordance with the 1982 UNCLOS.”

Hang added that the survey and scientific research within the Truong Sa archipelago and Vietnamese waters established in line with the UNCLOS 1982 without the country’s permission represents a violation of the nation’s sovereignty over the Truong Sa archipelago, Vietnamese sovereign rights, and its jurisdiction over its waters, meaning that it is therefore null and void.

Regarding information released on April 4 by the newspaper China Daily published an interview with Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim who was visiting the northern neighbor, the Malaysian PM called for dialogue to resolve disputes in the East Sea and said that this is not an "insurmountable" issue, Hang said when outlining Vietnam's view on the statement and the settlement of differences in the East Sea.

Accordingly, Hang stated that as a country steadfastly resolving disputes by peaceful means in accordance with the UN Charter and international law, Vietnam supports the fact that state actors can work together to resolve disagreements in the East Sea issue, on the basis of respecting the legitimate rights and interests of countries, as determined by the UNCLOS 1982.

This makes active and practical contributions to the maintenance of peace, stability of the legal order at sea, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight, as well as the promotion of sustainable development of the seas and oceans, the official said.

With this policy, the country is always ready to work with relevant partners in order to negotiate and settle border and territorial issues left by history, thereby making positive contributions to the friendly relations between Vietnam and other countries, as well as peace and stability in the region and the world, added Hang.