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Vietnam proceeds to the sea successfully under UNCLOS

Vietnam has solved seven out of 11 maritime disputes and can be  proud that it went to the sea firmly and successfully, according to Ambassador Nguyen Hong Thao.
Tran Cong Truc, former Chief of the Government's Border Committee

On June 18, the Central Propaganda and Training Commission with the Vietnam National Assembly Television organized a seminar on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the 1982 UNCLOS (the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and 10th of the 2012 Law of the Sea of Vietnam.

Tran Cong Truc, former Chief of the Government's Border Committee, said Vietnam voted to endorse UNCLOS on April 30, 1982 and was the 63rd country submitting a document on the ratification of the convention. Since joining UNCLOS, Vietnam has shown a progressive spirit and has quickly legalized the convention when enacting the Law of the Sea in 2012.

Truc said these actions have helped Vietnam succeed at the negotiating table and solve maritime matters among neighboring countries. The results or negotiations and decisions on demarcation have set a valuable regional and international precedent.

Thao affirmed that the release of UNCLOS marks an important legal event during the development of international law. The document is considered the “constitution of the sea and ocean”.

Vietnam began implementing the Convention very early. Immediately after UNCLOS came into force in 1994, Vietnam and Thailand signed a maritime delimitation agreement, the first in the region, in 1997. 

Vietnam is also one of the countries that initiated and chaired the campaign to establish the UNCLOS Group of Friends to strengthen cooperation among countries with common goals.

According to Thao, Vietnam has proactively applied the convention and made contributions to the development of the international law of the sea. Vietnam has settled seven out of 11 maritime disputes.

“This is the highest speed of dispute resolution in the region. We can be completely proud that Vietnam has firmly and successfully advanced to the sea,” he said.

Prof Carl Thayer, the world’s leading researcher on 1982 UNCLOS and international law of the sea from New South Wales in Australia, said the convention sets up a compulsory dispute settlement mechanism. If disputes appear, involved parties can cite UNCLOS to resolve disputes. And most importantly, this is a package deal.

This means that once signing the convention, countries cannot just choose to implement the parts they want, but have to observe all the regulations.

Scholars all agree that UNCLOS has contributed to ending many long lasting contradictions, controversies and tensions in the oceans and waters. In the last four decades, countries, including ones which have not ratified UNCLOS, have cited the convention when settling disputes.

Thu Hang


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