The event, jointly held by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV), the Foundation for East Sea Studies and the Vietnam Lawyers Association, brings together nearly 200 delegates, including close to 60 foreign scholars.
Amidst notable developments in the East Sea during the past year, the conference offers an opportunity for domestic and foreign scholars and researchers to share information and assess the recent developments in the sea as well as their repercussions, while discussing possibilities for further cooperation in the region.
Nearly 30 reports will be presented through the course of the two-day conference, which comprises of seven thematic sessions focusing on the historical perspective of the cause of disputes in the East Sea, international law and the East Sea, political economy, security, politics and diplomacy regarding the waters, interactions and coordination at sea, and mechanisms for tension management in the East Sea.
Through discussions, the delegates aim to seek opportunities and initiatives to promote understanding and cooperation in the East Sea in the spirit of principles of international law.
A special session will be held for the first time for representatives of naval and law enforcement forces of relevant countries, who will discuss interaction and coordination measures on field in order to avoid unexpected clashes and boost maritime cooperation.
Within the framework of the event, the annual Young Leaders Programme will gather eight young researchers and PhD candidates from seven countries, aiming to build a network of young researchers on the East Sea issue, in the hope they will contribute fresh views on how to step up cooperation for peace and development in the sea.
In his opening remarks, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Vu Tung, Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, said tensions in the region have shown no signs of cooling down in 2016 as conflicts and changes of the status quo continue.
He cited as examples dangerous clashes between fishing boats and law enforcement ships of countries near Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago and especially Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago, while island reclamation and militarisation in disputes areas are becoming increasingly complicated.
At the same time, the maritime environment in the region has degraded at an alarming rate, Tung added.
The scholar said he hopes initiatives will be put forth at the event to help Governments of the concerned countries coordinate with each other to improve security and common development in the East Sea, especially ideas aiming to build, consolidate and utilise regional security mechanisms to manage disputes and handle complex issues in the sea peacefully.
Le Thanh Quang, Secretary of the Khanh Hoa provincial Party Committee, expressed concerns at the East Sea situation, where competitions sometimes take over cooperation and international law has not been respected at times and in some places, thus undermining trust between countries in the region.
The situation is posing an urgent need to seek a long-term solution to the regional disputes as well as mechanisms to maintain order and law at sea, he said.
Attention should be paid to not only peace and stability but also issues regarding rights and obligations of the related parties, livelihoods of coastal residents and sustainability of the ocean ecology, he said.
On this occasion, a new website providing the latest research studies on maritime security, politics, economy and relevant laws was launched at http://maritimeissues.com.-VNA