The 18th ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) was held in Da Lat city, the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong on October 15
Delegates at the meeting
The Vietnamese delegation was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of SOM ASEAN-Vietnam.
Earlier October 13-14, the 30th meeting of the ASEAN-China Joint Working Group on the implementation of the DOC was also organized in Lam Dong. These meetings spent plenty of time discussing the complicated developments in the East Sea, especially ongoing incidents in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone.
The countries showed their concern that the current tensions could increase the risk of conflicts if they last for a long time, thereby threatening regional peace, security and stability.
ASEAN member states underlined the principles of self-restraint, non-militarization, taking no actions that may complicate the situation and increase tensions, not using force or threatening to use force, and peaceful settlement of disputes on the basis of international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The meetings agreed on sustained efforts to ensure the full and effective implementation of the DOC, with priority placed on trust-building measures and cooperation in dealing with common challenges such as marine environment protection and humanitarian treatment towards farmers.
With regard to negotiations on a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), the countries hailed the completion of the first round of review of the draft, and agreed upon the need to redouble efforts to build an effective and result-oriented code that can prevent ongoing complicated incidents.
This requires careful preparations for the next negotiations in a bid to reach specific and practical results, they noted while focusing their discussions on new working methods to be applied in the next talks.
During the meetings, the Vietnamese sided laid stress on the complex developments in the East Sea, particularly the serious violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty and jurisdiction, and highlighted the country’s stance and viewpoints based on international law and the 1982 UNCLOS.
China’s violations have been adversely affecting regional peace and security, and impeding COC negotiations, a Vietnamese representative said.
Vietnam reiterated its commitment to DOC implementation and COC building, and emphasized that it is urgent to build an effective and binding COC in line with international law and 1982 UNCLOS in order to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Vietnam also proposed a score of measures to renew the working style in the next negotiations with a particular focus on resolving policy issues and upholding the role of senior officials in outlining orientations for negotiations.