Vietnam has legal basis to dismiss any proposal for joint exploration illegally enabling violations to her continental shelf, said Dr. Nguyen Hong Thao, a Vietnamese lecturer, at a workshop on territorial disputes in the East Sea recently held in the UK.
The University of Oxford’s China Centre hosted the panel discussion entitled “New Approaches to the South China Sea Conflicts”, bringing together policymakers, lawyers in practice specializing in laws of the sea, experienced arbitrators, and leading academics from ASEAN nations, China, Canada, the US and Europe.
Dr. Nguyen Hong Thao
The conflicts in the East Sea pose a regional threat to peace, maritime security and economic progress in ASEAN, the littoral states along the sea and global trade. The five major claimants, including China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, have ratified the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
UNCLOS contains specific mechanisms for dispute resolution but the application of these mechanisms in the case of the East Sea disputes over the past time has not yet proven effective.
Some said that the full implementation and following of UNCLOS principles and international law by the countries having declared their sovereignty in the East Sea are fundamental requirements for tackling the disputes.
As a speaker, Nguyen Hong Thao, a professor from the Diplomacy Academy of Vietnam, said Vietnam always supports a flexible approach to settlement of the disputes in accordance with international laws and her legitimate national interests.
Vietnam agrees with the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s final judgment in 2016 declaring that no features in the Spratly Archipelago could be considered an island and so are not entitled to a 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) under UNCLOS, Thao noted.
The country backs finding an appropriate zone for joint exploration activities in compliance with UNCLOS and international laws, Thao stressed.