06/12/2018 10:27 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

The East Sea: Cooperation for security and development

At the 10th South China Sea (East Sea) International Conference, many scholars shared the view that the activity of reinforcing force-building and militarization in the sea poses the biggest risk of uncertainty to the region. To maintain peace and stability in the sea, legal experts stressed the observance of international law for settling disputes by peaceful means without using forces or threatening to use forces.
The 10th South China Sea International Conference themed “Cooperation for Regional Security and Development” was held in Da Nang on November 8-9, attracting participation of 220 scholars, senior officials, business executives, experts, academics and diplomats.

In his opening remarks, Prof. Dr. Nguyen Vu Tung, Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, said that the last decade has seen increased connectivity between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, featuring great impacts on politics of Asia and the world at large in the 21st century.

Many scholars shared the view that the activity of reinforcing force-building and militarization in the sea poses the biggest risk of uncertainty to the region as it is happening fast.


The opening of the 10th East Sea International Conference in Da Nang. Photo: Thanh Hoa / VNP


The conference has 220 participants, including 89 international scholars.  Photo: Thanh Hoa / VNP


The two-day event includes eight sessions. Photo: Thanh Hoa / VNP


The conference discusses measures to maintain peace,
stability and development in the East Sea. Photo: Thanh Hoa / VNP



The East Sea has become an issue that receives growing interest from international scholars.
Photo: Thanh Hoa / VNP



About 110 reporters from 60 local and foreign news agencies cover the event. Photo: Thanh Hoa / VNP

Some worried about the dual-use operation of units in the name of civil works like observatories in the area.

Some newly-emerging issues that could impact security and order in the East Sea were analyzed, such as the increasing use of unmanned vehicles in the absence of related international standards.

Discussing measures to build trust and maintain peace and stability in the East Sea, scholars said parties concerned should reconsider their demands which are not in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), thereby narrowing disputes and gradually settling disputes by peaceful means.

Legal experts also stressed the observance of the international law for settling disputes by peaceful means without using forces or threatening to use forces.

They warned that negotiations on a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) will take much time.

Apart from COC, scholars said ASEAN member states could propose ideas to build other codes of conduct in the East Sea, including the one on unexpected encounters in the air, and standards on treating plastic wastes at sea.

As there are different interpretations of the 1982 UNCLOS and disagreement about The Hague Tribunal’s ruling about the East Sea issue, several opinions suggested that ASEAN should invite major countries to hold dialogues to reach consensus on the application of the UNCLOS as well as regulations regarding maritime freedom.


Studying the materials before a session. Photo: Thanh Hoa / VNP


Anton Tsvetov from Russia’s Center for Strategic Research, a speaker at the conference. Photo: Thanh Hoa / VNP


Prof. Robert Beckman (left) from the National University of Singapore’s Center for International Law
who chairs the session “Evolving Claims and Positions over the East Sea: Continuities and Changes”.
Photo: Thanh Hoa / VNP



Another speaker, Cleo Paskal (left), who is Associate Fellow at the Department of Energy, Environment,
and Resources, as well as at the Asia-Pacific Program at Chatham House in the United Kingdom.
Photo: Thanh Hoa / VNP



Dr. Patrick Cronin from the Center for a New American Security is a speaker. Photo: Thanh Hoa / VNP


Prof. Carlyle Thayer at the University of New South Wales, Australian Defense Force Academy speaks to the press. 
Photo: Thanh Hoa / VNP



Prof. Robert Beckman (left) and Prof. Raul “Pete” Pedrozo from the Stockton Center for the Study of International Law
at the U.S. Naval War College talk on the sidelines of the conference. Photo: Thanh Hoa / VNP

 
The event included eight sessions, entitled “East Sea: the Heart of the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region”, “East Sea in the Spotlight: a10-Year Recap”, “Evolving Claims and Positions over the East Sea: Continuities and Changes”, “Major Powers: Engagements or Disengagements?”, “The Buildup of Forces in the East Sea”, “Confidence Building”, “Preventative Diplomacy”, and “Dispute Resolution, Order, and Disorder in the East Sea: Reflections”

Prof. Dr. Nguyen Vu Tung said after 10 editions, the seminar has offered a clearer insight into legal aspects and scholars shared view that international law needs to be respected and fully enforced.

By Thanh Hoa