VietNamNet Bridge – Aside from establishing diplomatic relations with foreign countries, the diplomatic sector plays an important role in protecting the independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of the country and ensuring a peaceful and stable environment for national growth. Vietnam’s foreign policy has been stated in documents of the 12th National Party Congress and reaffirmed at the ongoing 29th Diplomatic Conference in Hanoi.
Vietnam’s fishing boats
Vietnam has insisted on a foreign policy of peace, national independence, democracy, cooperation, and development. In recent years, political and security situation in the Asia-Pacific region and Southeast Asia in particular has developed rapidly and unexpectedly. The East Sea issue has become a pressing topic regionally and internationally, particularly since the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) issued an award on the Philippines’ lawsuit against China which clearly interpreted controversial contents in the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Responding to the situation Vietnam has affirmed its stance on national sovereignty and maritime sovereignty rights to persistently and resolutely protect the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and interest of the nation, and guarantee a peaceful and cooperative environment for development.
Resolving disputes peacefully
The East Sea has been a “hot spot” in the region, and tensions have escalated due to territorial and sovereignty disputes and strategic competition among big countries.
Vietnam, with over 3,000km of coastline, is directly impacted by marine security in the East Sea. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said Vietnam has confirmed time and again its sovereignty and sovereign rights to the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos. The diplomatic sector has closely followed the guidelines of the Communist Party of Vietnam to resolutely protect national sovereignty by peaceful means and resolve disputes through negotiations with respect for international law.
Deputy Prime Minister Minh said: “Vietnam insists on protecting its sovereign rights to islands under its control in accordance with international law. We have to defend our rights to our exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles. Disputes between two or more countries will be resolved bilaterally or multilaterally. I confirm that Vietnam defends its sovereignty by peaceful means in accordance with international law and requests that other countries respect international law.”
A peaceful, stable environment in the common interest
Responding to concerns about big countries’ escalation of tensions and appropriate responses by relevant parties, Deputy Prime Minister Minh said the East Sea is not an issue that should concern only claimants. Other countries in and beyond the region should take responsibility to ensure maritime security and safety and a peaceful environment for development. He added that a country’s provocations will influence its national growth and prestige on the international arena.
Vietnamese Ambassador to China Dang Minh Khoi said: “Although the East Sea has seen complicated developments, I’m positive about the situation. China is growing stronger while countries have strengthened themselves at all levels. But all countries have expressed their wish to maintain peaceful relations. China will benefit from peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. No country has talked about war. It shows that Vietnam and other countries share the same view of retaining a peaceful and stable environment for development.”
ASEAN and China recently agreed to finalize the Code of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea in mid 2017, which will be a legal tool guaranteeing maritime peace and stability.
Narrowing gaps, preventing conflict, and improving cooperation
Addressing the 29th Diplomatic Conference on Monday, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong said external work should have an effective remedy to narrow differences, prevent conflicts, improve cooperation, and create conditions for solutions. Vietnam’s diplomatic sector has thoroughly abided by the Party’s guidelines to defend national sovereignty and a peaceful environment for national development.