East Sea: 12 years have passed and concerns, wishes still there

The first East Sea International Conference took place in 2009. Twelve years have passed, but concerns about the situation in the East Sea still remain and the desire for a peaceful, cooperative and developed East Sea is still there.

The 12th East Sea International Conference has just closed in Hanoi with nine sessions.

Biển Đông: 12 năm trôi qua còn nguyên đó lo ngại lẫn ước mong

The 12th International East Sea Conference took place in both online and direct forms. Photo: Bao Quoc

Three events

This conference took place after three particularly important events.

The first event was the Covid-19 pandemic which is still raging around the world.

The pandemic prevented many international scholars from attending the conference because most countries still restricted international flights. Therefore, the event was organized in direct and online forms.

However, the event attracted a record number of international scholars as well as audiences via the Internet, including 250 direct participants, 1 Minister of Defense, 1 senior advisor, 60 leading scholars and 500 delegates.

The second event was the world witnessing the US presidential election. The division of voters as well as those who supported or opposed President Trump showed that world politics is undergoing changes that are hard to forecast.

This is reflected in the discussion theme "Maintaining peace and cooperation in the context of many changes".

The third event is that this conference was held after Vietnam had just completed the role of ASEAN Chairman and transferred the chairmanship to Brunei.

Trust is needed for cooperation

The world has witnessed the destruction caused by Covid-19. However, the pandemic has not prevented great powers from nurturing or pushing their political ambitions, and China is one of them.

A sense of despair can be felt when repeating completely rejected arguments; China cannot find any other reasonable justification for its position - Prof. Batongbacal (the Philippines).

Director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) Greg Poling demonstrated that China has long started tensions in the East Sea, and the pandemic is an opportunity for it to push forward aggressive actions there.

It is an increase of encroachment of other nations' waters while simultaneously escalating military threats in the East Sea through the deployment of military forces and conducting continuous drills.

Experts attending the conference made many proposals to promote cooperation in the East Sea through scientific research, conservation and development of marine resources, including marine resources - which are at risk of being exhausted from the destructive catching methods of Chinese fishermen.

Biển Đông: 12 năm trôi qua còn nguyên đó lo ngại lẫn ước mong

The countries in the East Sea have to comply with the general "rules of the game", which is international law.

Chinese scientists always have to struggle to justify Beijing's actions. However, as the Cambodian scholar Dr. Chheang Vannarith said, cooperation needs faith. To have faith, the parties must restrain themselves.

In addition, to be able to cooperate with each other in a mutually beneficial way, the countries in the East Sea have to comply with the common "rules of the game", which is international law.

Obstacles on the way to maintain peace

Obstacles to maintaining peace and cooperation in the East Sea remain when China ignores international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

 

China has not yet given up on the so-called "cow's tongue line" claim even though it has no legal basis and opposed by international opposition and the PCA’s ruling. China is even looking for ways to go further through actions that challenge international law.

Biển Đông: 12 năm trôi qua còn nguyên đó lo ngại lẫn ước mong

China exercises in the East Sea in May 2020. Photo: Chinamil

Many countries under the attraction of the Chinese economy have silently turned a blind eye to China's law-defying actions. However, there have been positive changes in legal terms in recent years.

"The war of diplomatic notes" has proved that. It is no coincidence that many countries have strongly voiced their opposition to China's unreasonable and illegal claims through diplomatic notes sent directly to the United Nations. These include non-claimant states in the East Sea such as the United States, Australia, Great Britain, France and Germany.

Damos Dumoli Agusman, Director of the Department of Law and International Treaties, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia focused on analyzing the legal validity of notes. Accordingly, these notes clearly show the official legal views of each country.

If China wants to enact domestic law, it is not allowed to violate international law - Vice Admiral Yoji Koda (Japan)

Notably, even the country that appears to have a close relationship with China, like the Philippines, in the note still strongly opposed China's false claims.

Prof. Batongbacal from the Philippines commented on China’s repeat of its irrational and obscure arguments: A sense of despair can be felt when repeating completely rejected arguments; China cannot find any other plausible justification for its position.

Misleading reasoning

For that reason, the arguments and explanations of Chinese scholars were out of place during the conference. Chinese scholar Jun Wu Pan said that the impending passage of a new Law on the Coast Guard by China has nothing for international concern.

Meanwhile, Vice Admiral Yoji Koda from Japan had to remind the Chinese scholar that if China wants to enact internal law, it must not violate international law.

This starts from the fact that China has always arbitrarily unilaterally declared the waters under the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf of the East Sea, stating as "under Chinese sovereignty", regardless of the regulations of the UNCLOS to which this country is a member.

The prospect of a Code of Conduct in the East SEa Sea (COC) is still far as a consensus has not been reached within ASEAN. According to Richard Heydarian from the Philippines, "ASEAN needs an upgrade" in order to make unified decisions, based on the interests of ASEAN itself, not the interests of each individual country.

International scholars have proposed a lot of cooperation options for the East Sea, from developing fisheries to developing marine science along with ocean conservation and sustainable development. However, the most difficult thing is the lack of cooperation from China.

All the proposed initiatives or solutions can only be implemented if the Chinese government is genuinely good-willed, and refrains itself from complicating matters.

Therefore, turning the East Sea into a region of peace, cooperation and development is still only a wish, when in reality, China continues to conduct actions disregarding international law in the East Sea.

Hoang Viet

Vietnam’s policies on East Sea issues

Vietnam’s policies on East Sea issues

The East Sea plays a vital role in Vietnam’s defence, security, and economy.

International conference discusses co-operation in East Sea in time of turbulence

International conference discusses co-operation in East Sea in time of turbulence

One of the bright spots in the East Sea tension this year is that many countries have clarified their legal stance in the sea through diplomatic notes exchanged at the UN, said Dr Pham Lan Dung, acting director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam.

 
 

Other News

.
Vietnam’s policies on East Sea issues
Vietnam’s policies on East Sea issues
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  23/11/2020 

The East Sea plays a vital role in Vietnam’s defence, security, and economy.

Note verbale 'warfare' debated at East Sea conference in Hanoi
Note verbale 'warfare' debated at East Sea conference in Hanoi
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  21/11/2020 

Experts believe that smaller countries can collectively and peacefully address disputes through note verbales.

International conference discusses co-operation in East Sea in time of turbulence
International conference discusses co-operation in East Sea in time of turbulence
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  17/11/2020 

One of the bright spots in the East Sea tension this year is that many countries have clarified their legal stance in the sea through diplomatic notes exchanged at the UN, said Dr Pham Lan Dung, acting director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam.

Greater efforts needed for a peaceful, stable and prosperous East Sea: experts
Greater efforts needed for a peaceful, stable and prosperous East Sea: experts
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  17/11/2020 

The disputes in the East Sea need to be resolved by the concerned parties, with cooperation of the international community as well as the region, said a Vietnamese expert.

12th East Sea International Conference opens
12th East Sea International Conference opens
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  17/11/2020 

The 12th East Sea International Conference, with the theme “Maintaining Peace and Cooperation through a Time of Turbulence”, kicked off on November 16 in both the in-person and online formats.

Joint patrols help maintain security in East Sea
Joint patrols help maintain security in East Sea
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  17/11/2020 

Many international maritime routes pass through the East Sea, making it the world’s second-busiest shipping lane in terms of commercial activities, after the Mediterranean. 

China’s Coast Guard bill: ‘a test’ for the new US President
China’s Coast Guard bill: ‘a test’ for the new US President
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  13/11/2020 

While the world focused on the US presidential election, tensions in the East Sea have not been relieved as provocative actions from Beijing continued.

Philippines affirms stance on peaceful settlement of East Sea issue
Philippines affirms stance on peaceful settlement of East Sea issue
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  13/11/2020 

President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte called for stepping up the adoption of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) while addressing the 37th ASEAN Summit via a teleconference on November 12.

Chinese technology firm found inserting illegal nine-dash line on app
Chinese technology firm found inserting illegal nine-dash line on app
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  12/11/2020 

Vietnamese netizens have reported the violation to Google and Apple.

Foreign ministers reiterate ASEAN’s resolve to resume East Sea negotiations
Foreign ministers reiterate ASEAN’s resolve to resume East Sea negotiations
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  11/11/2020 

ASEAN foreign ministers reiterated the bloc's resolve to resume negotiations on a code of conduct in the East Sea with China during the 22nd ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) Council Meeting held online on Tuesday.

East Sea issues must be resolved peacefully, constructively: Malaysian PM
East Sea issues must be resolved peacefully, constructively: Malaysian PM
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  13/11/2020 

Malaysia is firm with its stance that matters relating to the East Sea (known as the South China Sea internationally) must be resolved peacefully and constructively, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on November 12.

East Sea disputes should be solved based on international laws: Ukrainian scholars
East Sea disputes should be solved based on international laws: Ukrainian scholars
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  09/11/2020 

Over 20 Ukrainian scholars, experts and lawyers have participated in a round table discussion on jurisdiction at disputed areas in Black Sea, Sea of Azov and East Sea at the press centre of the Ukrainian Independent Information Agency (UNIAN).

Vietnam backs peaceful settlement of maritime disputes
Vietnam backs peaceful settlement of maritime disputes
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  06/11/2020 

The country always supports the peaceful settlement of territorial disputes on the basis of respect for international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

China changes sovereignty claim in the East Sea: hope or illusion?
China changes sovereignty claim in the East Sea: hope or illusion?
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  04/11/2020 

“This is the time for China to give up the 9-dash line. This does not affect their interests,” said Dr. Li Nan, a research fellow at the East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore, at a recent online seminar on the East Sea.

The East Sea and the new US President’s choice
The East Sea and the new US President’s choice
FEATUREicon  04/11/2020 

Many Americans went to the polls early to elect a new President and the results of the 2020 US presidential election will have great implications for the world geopolitical situation.

Vietnam protests establishment of so-called Sansha city
Vietnam protests establishment of so-called Sansha city
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  15/10/2020 

Vietnam strongly protests the establishment of the so-called Sansha city in Phu Lam Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago and related activities as they seriously violate Vietnam’s sovereignty, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said.

Code of Conduct in the East Sea: a long and arduous road
Code of Conduct in the East Sea: a long and arduous road
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  08/10/2020 

During the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) on September 12, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers once again called for the early completion of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC). But obstacles remain.

Vietnam wants resumption of talks on East Sea code
Vietnam wants resumption of talks on East Sea code
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  02/10/2020 

Vietnam wants code of conduct (COC) negotiations for parties in the East Sea between Southeast Asian nations and China to resume soon, after months of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a spokesperson has said.

China changes its 'wolf warrior' diplomacy
China changes its 'wolf warrior' diplomacy
FEATUREicon  27/09/2020 

China has shifted from a 'wolf warrior' diplomacy to calling for the implementation of three points on dialogue, cooperation and dispute control, as Politburo member Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said recently. They are:

Four years after the East Sea ruling: Wind changes
Four years after the East Sea ruling: Wind changes
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  26/09/2020 

The Permanent Court of Arbitration's ruling is the key for ASEAN countries in the fight for a law-based order with the central role of ASEAN to achieve the goal of peace, stability and dynamism.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN