26/05/2014 00:01 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

ASEAN Defence Ministers Issue Joint Statement

On May 20, 2014 heads of the delegations attending the 8th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting in Nay Pyi Taw ((ADMM-8), Myanmar passed a three-year working program (2014-2016) and a joint statement on “Defense Cooperation Towards Community and Prosperity”.
The joint statement voiced support for the outcomes of the 24th ASEAN Summit and the Nay Pyi Taw Declaration on ASEAN Community Building by 2015 which calls for cooperation in ensuring the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and compliance of commonly recognized principles of international laws and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The statement urged all parties to exercise restraint without using force or conducting activities that may intensify tensions, while highlighting the need to early reach a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) as stipulated on ASEAN's Six-Point Principles on the East Sea.

Regarding the on-going developments in the East Sea that is causing public concern, all heads of the delegations agreed to bring the issue to the informal meeting between the ASEAN Defense Ministers and the Chinese Defense Minister on the sidelines of the 8th ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting. They hoped that the tension in the East Sea might be resolved by peaceful solutions on the basis of international laws including the UNCLOS and DOC and China as signatories.

At the meeting, they reaffirmed ASEAN’s commitments to foster defense cooperation towards the formation of an ASEAN Community in 2015, hailing trust-building measures via the establishment of regular and hot lines, commitments to non-use of force among ASEAN member states.

Related to politics-security, ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh said that at the 7th ASEAN-China Senior Officials on the Implementation of the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea held in April in Pattaya, Thailand, the parties agreed to strengthen trust and practical cooperation to maintain and promote peace, stability, maritime security in the East Sea.

The meeting emphasized the need of full and effective implementation of DOC and efforts to quickly finalise the COC.

ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh said that at the 24th ASEAN Summit and related meetings recently hosted in Myanmar, ASEAN leaders reiterated the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety, freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea. They expressed deep concerns over the recent cases which caused tensions in the waters area and highlighted the necessity of quickly finalizing the COC. Before the 24th ASEAN Summit, ASEAN foreign ministers issued a Statement on the Current Developments in the East Sea. 
 

ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh and heads of delegations
attending the 8th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting pose for a photo: Photo: Bao Trung – VNA

ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh and heads of delegations at the signing ceremony
of a joint statement in Nay Pyi Taw. Photo: Xinhua News Agency/VNA


Vietnamese Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh addresses the meeting. Photo: Bao Trung – VNA
Vietnamese Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh meets with his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan
on the sidelines of the meeting. Photo: Xinhua News Agency/ VNA

The Vietnamese high-ranking military delegation by Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh made contributions to the success of the meeting.

At the meeting, Defence Ministerl Phung Quang Thanh briefed the on-going developments in the East Sea that seriously threaten peace, stability, security, safety and maritime freedom and aviation in the region. Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh said that China’s illegal placement of a drilling rig in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf sparks outrage among Vietnamese people and causes worries in the region.
He has reiterated Vietnam’s policy on protecting national sovereignty by peaceful measures in line with international law, including UNCLOS and DOC to maintain peace, stability, security and safety of navigation in the East Sea.

Vietnam is determined to keep political stability in the country and maintain the friendship and comprehensive cooperation with China.

Vietnam has requested a dialogue with the Chinese at different levels, including through people-to-people diplomatic channels, with the desire of both sides to exercise restraint to avoid military conflicts at sea.

On the sidelines of the event, the Vietnamese Minister had bilateral meetings with the Defence Ministers of China, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Minister of Energy of Brunei.

During the meeting with his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan, Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh asked China to stop taking unilateral action in the East Sea, and instead sit down at the negotiating table and amicably settle territorial disputes with Vietnam.

He reiterated Vietnam’s consistent policy of struggling to defend national sovereignty through peaceful means, with respect for and within the constraints of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS and the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), so as to maintain peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea.

He told that Vietnam only uses law enforcement vessels of the Vietnam Coast Guard and Vietnam Fisheries Resources Surveillance, as well as fishing boats to defend national sovereignty. It would never use aircraft, frigates or frogmen to attack and destroy the Chinese rig.

Thanh asked China to exercise restraint and not deploy military boats to collide with and fire water cannons at Vietnamese boats, provoking public outrage and injuring the friendship between the two peoples.

He said that Vietnam will resolutely defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity to create a peaceful and stable environment for national development, while further strengthening solidarity and friendship with China in the spirit of the comprehensive strategic cooperation partnership established by the two countries’ top leaders.

He called on China to stop unilateral action and not to complicate the situation, and work closely with Vietnam to tackle the tension, through the two countries’ current negotiation mechanism.

“I also asked China to withdraw its oil rig from Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, bringing peace to the waters again,” he said.
 
By VNP/VNA
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