More than 100 of officials and scholars from 27 member states of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) have expressed concerns about escalating tensions in the South China Sea at the 2nd ARF Workshop, which was co-organized by Vietnam, the European Union (EU) and the Canadian Embassy in Hanoi.
|Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam Deborah Paul, Dr. Le Thi Tuyet Mai, head of Department of Law and International Treaty under Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, EU Ambassador to Vietnam Giorgio Aliberti co-chaired the workshop. Photo: MOFA|
Vietnamese and international experts discussed methods to boost the enforcement of international treaties on the sea to solve problems that threat global peace and security.
They shared overviews on the current situation and issues hindering the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other international instruments in order to address emerging maritime issues.
The participants discussed measures to promote the cooperation in maritime issues among ARF members with the progress made in the implementation of the ARF Vision Statement and Hanoi Plan of Action to implement the ARF Vision Statement and looked forward to the implementation of the remaining action lines.
Dr. Le Thi Tuyet Mai, head of the Department of Law and International Treaty under Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, highlighted the importance of the UNCLOS in regulating maritime activities since the legal enforcement 25 years ago.
Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam Deborah Paul said that regional tensions continue to rise, challenging global efforts to build conference and to prevent heat of conflicts among neighbors. Canada acknowledges that regional security bring advantages to regional people and contribute to the global stability and a strong ASEAN is very important to Canada.
EU Ambassador to Vietnam Giorgio Aliberti said the UNCLOS remains a pillar on disputes on maritime issues, including the South China Sea and efforts must be continued to build up a region of stability. It requires further cooperation among regional states, ARF members and the whole world.
The UNCLOS is not just a critical legal instrument regulating maritime affairs, guaranteeing legal rights and interests of states but also an important framework for the countries to resolve disputes and enhance maritime cooperation.
Based on the UNCLOS, a number of cooperation initiatives have been proposed and promoted between ASEAN countries and between ASEAN and dialogue partners in response to maritime security challenges.
|The event draws the participation of experts from 27 ARF members. Photo: VNA|
The experts discussed and recommended solutions in four sessions, focusing on:
(i) Traditional maritime security challenges in the region, such as sovereignty disputes, maritime delimitation, and law enforcement at sea;
(ii) the UNCLOS and emerging issues in the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, including issues related to marine pollution, deep sea exploitation, conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity outside areas under national jurisdiction and illegal, undeclared and unregulated fishing activities;
(iii) Climate change and maritime law, possible impacts and solutions, including global challenges such as sea level rise, ocean acidification to coral reefs, and climate change;
(iv) International and regional cooperation: initiatives and solutions for the future with the interaction between regional agreements and UNCLOS in environmental protection and conservation, strengthening coordination and interaction between ASEAN maritime forums and mechanisms and multilateral maritime security cooperation.
Established in 1994, the ARF is aimed to build trust and strengthen ASEAN-centered regional dialogue. Currently, 27 countries and international organizations attend this forum, with Vietnam being one of the founding members.