Over 50 experts from research institutes and universities in the Czech Republic gathered at a recent workshop in Prague on resolving disputes in the East Sea.
The Huyen Tran DK 1/7 platform of Vietnam in the East Sea (Source: VNA)
In his speech, the main speaker at the event - Dr. Bill Hayton, senior expertof the Asia-Pacific Programme at Chatham House ofthe UK, said that the dispute in the East Sea is a complex issue, not onlyinvolving China and ASEAN member countries that have claimed sovereignty in thesea, but also concerning geopolitical competition between big countries,especially the US and China.
The dispute in the East Sea is increasingly attracting the attention of theinternational community, including the European Union (EU), as this is an issueaffecting the stability and development of the region, he said.
Hayton recalled that the EU issued a joint statement in late August, expressingits concern about recent unilateral actions that have increased tensions andharmed maritime security, threatened peace and development environment in theregion.
He called on the EU to continue to pay more attention to the issue, and to helpASEAN countries involved in the sovereignty disputes in the East Sea to enhancetheir maritime security capabilities.
China has no evidence and legal basis to claim sovereignty over most of theEast Sea under the "9-dash line" claims, he said, noting that China'ssovereignty claim goes contrary to international law as well as its owncommitment to maintaining good relations with other countries in the region.
He stressed in the process of resolving disputes in the East Sea, one of themost important factors is evaluating evidence presented by claimant states, whileclaimant countries shouldpromote negotiations, and commit to maintain the status quo.
Sharing Hayton’s opinion that China has no legal foundation to claimsovereignty under the “9-dash line” claim, Dr. Takashi Hosoda – a researcher ofAsia-Pacific security at Charles University, the Czech Republic, expressedconcern that current tension in the East Sea is threatening regional peace andsecurity.
He emphasized that China's unilateral activities have increased tensions in thesea, especially its violation of international law by sending the HaiyangDizhi 8 survey ship into Vietnam's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) near the Tu Chinh reefin the last two months.
China must comply with international law and common value andstandards, he said.
Dr. Richard Turcsanyi from Palacky Olomouc University also expressed concernabout China's activities to build and militarize artificial islands in the EastSea, causing negative impact on regional security.
In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency correspondent, Dr. Hayton saidthat the operation of China’s Haiyang Dizhi 8 with the escort of coast guard vessels insideVietnam's EEZ shows that China is using the strength of a great power tothreaten and coerce countries in the region to give up their sovereignty andjurisdiction as well as their legitimate interests.
This is a violation of internationallaw, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of theSea (UNCLOS)in 1982, he said./.VNA