The ocean covers two thirds of the earth and countries have benefited a lot from the ocean.
It’s necessary for countries to cooperate in using and exploiting marine resources. Enhancing cooperation to ensure maritime security and creating a stable environment for prosperity is the responsibility of all coastal countries. Huyen Nga analyses opportunities for maritime cooperation:
As the East Sea and East China Sea have seen increasing tensions because of island upgrading, militarization of artificial islands, and other activities to bolster claims of sovereignty, cooperative mechanisms to minimize conflicts and obtain mutual benefits have become more important.
Marine security: a top shared concern
180 delegates from Asian and European countries discussed marine security at a conference called “Marine security and development: International cooperation and European-Asian experience sharing” in Ha Long city, Quang Ninh province, last week.
During the 2-day conference, delegates discussed ways to enhance cooperation in dealing with marine security issues and affirmed the need to foster cooperation, amidst the escalation of strategic competition between countries.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Doctor Dang Dinh Quy, said: “Marine security has become an important and pressing issue. Potential conflicts in the sea have threatened and degraded cooperation efforts and trust among countries.”
Experts from Asian and European countries underlined the role of cooperation and information sharing. Many delegates said Asian countries should learn lessons from the collective security mechanism which has been effectively implemented in Europe. Sharing information is an effective way to protect sea travelers and discourage activities that undermine marine security.
The delegates said ASEAN countries face marine security threats from terrorism and piracy and they should build an integrated database to help protect marine routes.
Illegal fishing is another big marine security problem in Asia. It derives from long-standing territorial disputes and some countries have used fishing activities to bolster their territorial claims. A multilateral mechanism and resolute political will are needed to resolve the problem.
Doctor Felix Heiduk from German Institute for International Security Affairs said: “In order to move away from this zero-frame and to reframe the conflict away from competition, decision makers should consider alternatively reframing the conflict away from territorial claims towards closer cooperation, especially in the fishery sector. Fish as natural resources are massively endangered because of over-fishing in the South China Sea.”
Enhancing trust building and preventive diplomacy
Minimizing conflicts and improving cooperation in the East Sea was once again the main topic at the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Yunnan province, China, on June 14.
Participants expressed their resolute political will to ensure peace and security in the East Sea, implement measures to improve trust, abide by international law, and resolve disputes through peaceful means in line with international law.
Compliance with international law is the core of international relations, particularly in resolving marine disputes. All countries involved in these disputes should grasp every opportunity to improve marine security cooperation.