Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung said Saturday that Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh’s statements on East Sea issues were well received by many nations at the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting, held from July 29 to August 3 in Thailand, who currently chairs ASEAN.
The East Sea is internationally known as the South China Sea.
Minh on Wednesday denounced China's activities in the East Sea at the ASEAN meeting, calling them "illegal" and "serious violations" of Vietnam's sovereignty and jurisdiction rights.
At the 9th EAS Foreign Ministers' Meeting Friday, which is part of the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Minh said there have been unilateral activities that violated the sovereignty and legal interests of coastal states, and stressed that Vietnam has full historical and legal bases to assert its sovereignty over the Paracel (Hoang Sa) and Spraty (Truong Sa) Islands in the waterway.
"The statements of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh at the meeting were very direct and sincere, based on an amicable and collaborative attitude, so they received support from many countries," Dung told the media, elaborating on the results of the ASEAN meeting.
Concerns over South China Sea issues have cast shadows on the meeting, particularly with China sending oil survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 and its escorts to the southern area of Vietnam’s waters near the Vanguard Bank in early July.
"The East Sea has always been a much discussed topic at ASEAN meetings. The recent events in the East Sea, especially China’s oil survey vessel Haiyang Dizhi 8 and escorts infringing upon Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, have garnered international attention.
"Many foreign ministers expressed deep concern over such events," Dung noted.
Dung added that at the meeting all countries stressed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation on the East Sea, as well as following international law, especially the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea.
They also called for stakeholders to strictly follow the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and hope for an effective Code of Conduct.
Dung noted that the meeting saw ASEAN’s role and status within the region enhanced and that the bloc’s members greatly supported the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific document, which includes principles and criteria determined by ASEAN for collaborative action on security, politics, economy and development in the Indo-Pacific region.
Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung at the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, August 1, 2019. Photo courtesy of Vietnam News Agency.
Minh told Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the ASEAN meeting Thursday that Vietnam and China need to maintain peace, stability and control conflicts well, without adding tensions and resolve disputes with peaceful measures.
Vietnam's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang had said earlier that Vietnam has contacted China on multiple occasions via different channels, delivered diplomatic notes to oppose China's violations and demanded that China stop all unlawful activities, withdraw its infringing ships from Vietnamese waters and respect Vietnam's sovereign and jurisdiction rights over its waters.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday also criticized China for its "coercion" of Southeast Asian neighbors in disputes over the South China Sea, and urged regional allies to speak out against such actions.
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