ASEAN plays important part in resolving East Sea disputes

(VOVWORLD) - The strategic competition of powers in the South China Sea (known as the East Sea in Vietnam) has drawn global attention. Recently the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other countries have made public statements and sent notes to the UN in support of international law and ASEAN’s central role in handling East Sea issues.
ASEAN plays important part in resolving East Sea disputes - ảnh 1Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung  

Many countries share interests in the East Sea, an international free trade maritime area. They all want free navigation and trade to be guaranteed here. The East Sea is a vital maritime area for ASEAN countries because almost all of them have direct interest here.

High consensus

The East Sea has been the focus of worsening relations between certain countries. China’s unilateral activities to expand its control in the East Sea have stirred a backlash in many countries, particularly within ASEAN.

Many ASEAN countries have sent public notes to the UN to affirm their stance in the East Sea.

Doctor Pham Lan Dung, acting Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, said this reflects ASEAN’s unanimous respect for international law in resolving East Sea disputes.

“Circulating public notes of legal arguments show that these countries have closely studied international law, particularly the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which defines a legal framework for all maritime activities,” Dung said.

ASEAN has made clear its views, taken concrete measures, forecast impacts on ASEAN and its members, and fostered its central role in handling East Sea issues

At the 36th and 37th ASEAN Summits, ASEAN leaders repeatedly pointed to UNCLOS as the sole legal foundation for resolving East Sea issues. All countries have agreed to speed up negotiations to finalize the Code of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, a document regulating  maritime activities for peace, stability, and prosperity in the East Sea. ASEAN has underscored its central role in the region amid fierce competition between countries.

Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung said: “ASEAN and its members agree to back ASEAN’s collective interests. With its clear stance, ASEAN has presented a consistent view on regional and international issues, including the East Sea. It’s a way to maintain ASEAN’s central role in the region.”

ASEAN’s central role

The East Sea is one of the world’s most important political issues and a focal point of Southeast Asia with interlacing interests of ASEAN countries in the short and medium term. ASEAN is becoming a global growth center.

If East Sea issues are not resolved in line with international law, it will affect the whole region.

Indian journalist Rudroneel Ghosh said: “ASEAN is a very important region when you look at it from a geo-political perspective. The global balance of power is shifting from the West to East. It’s now important to have a rule-based order in the region for everyone to respect international rule and not allow sovereignty disputes to impede economic growth and development.” 

ASEAN plays important part in resolving East Sea disputes - ảnh 2Indian journalist Rudroneel Ghosh 

ASEAN has many times repeated its stance of respecting international law, fostering dialogue, building trust, practicing restraint to avoid worsening the situation, resolving disputes and disagreements peacefully based on international law, UNCLOS 1982, and DOC, and finalizing the COC.

What ASEAN has been doing illustrates its solidarity and combined power in handling challenges like the East Sea.

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