Vietnam welcomes countries’ stance on the South China Sea in line with international law, and shares the view that the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982) should be the framework to govern all activities at sea and ocean, a foreign ministry spokesperson said.
|Spokesperson of Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang. Photo: MOFA|
Spokesperson of Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang made the statement earlier this week in response to a request for comment on the joint note verbale submitted to the UN on September 16 by the UK, France, and Germany refuting China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea.
The three European countries, also known as the E3 and all signatories to the UNCLOS 1982, denounced Beijing’s so-called “historic rights” over much of the waters as not in line with international law and especially UNCLOS 1982.
The note verbale also stressed the importance of “unhampered exercise of the freedom of the high seas, in particular the freedom of navigation and overflight, and of the right of innocent passage enshrined in UNCLOS, including in the South China Sea.”
Ms. Hang said that all countries share the common aspiration to promote peace, stability, cooperation and development in the sea. “To achieve this, it is vital to respect the legal order at sea, and fully observe with good faith and sense of responsibility UNCLOS 1982.”
She referred to the Vision Statement of the 36th ASEAN Summit in June and the Joint Communiqué of the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM 53) both noting that UNCLOS 1982 should be the framework to govern all activities at sea and ocean.
“In this spirit, together with ASEAN countries, Vietnam hopes that all countries, including ASEAN partners, would make meaningful contributions to the maintenance of peace, stability and cooperation in the South China Sea and solve disputes via dialogue and other peaceful means in line with international law, to serve the mutual interests and aspirations of countries in the region and in the international community,” the spokesperson stressed.
She asserted that Vietnam has always been a positive and responsible contributor to this process.
Before the E3, a number of nations, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia and the US, had sent note verbales to the UN to protest China’s unlawful claims in the resources-rich South China Sea, which is also an important waterway.