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UNCLOS significant to Vietnam’s long-term development

UNCLOS significant to Vietnam’s long-term development


Ambassador Dang Hoang Giang, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations, has highlighted the significance of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to an environment of peace and stability as well as long-term development of Vietnam.

In an interview recently granted to a Vietnam News Agency reporter in New York on the occasion of the 40th signing anniversary of the convention, Giang said thanks to UNCLOS regulations, Vietnam has been able to determine, enforce and manage its waters, rights and interests at sea and define its territory in line with international laws, which are recognised by the vast majority of countries.

On the basis of UNCLOS, Vietnam has negotiated maritime boundary delimitation with neighbouring countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and China (in the Gulf of Tonkin), which forms important groundwork to determine the sovereignty, sovereign rights, jurisdiction and legal interests of Vietnam at sea.

At the same time, Vietnam has launched major maritime economic projects, from the exploitation of oil and gas to export of aquatic products, contributing to its socio-economic development.

He said the convention lays the foundation for Vietnam to work with relevant countries to address challenges, from the degradation of the marine environment and ecosystems to the negative impacts of climate change such as rising sea levels, ocean acidification and natural disasters.

Vietnam's policies, laws and regulations are aligned with UNCLOS, showing the country’s  commitment and positive contributions to the international community’s efforts to fully abide by UNCLOS, as well as pool global support for Vietnam's maritime issues, he added.

Asked about Vietnam’s contributions to UNCLOS, Giang said Vietnam was one of the first countries to approve the convention in 1982 and its validity in November 1994.

Vietnam has also engaged in processes and mechanisms established under UNCLOS. In August, Vietnam's representative was elected to the Legal-Technical Commission of the International Seabed Authority, marking the first time a Vietnamese marine scientist has joined an agency of the UNCLOS.

According to the ambassador, Vietnam is increasingly proactive in pioneering in respecting international law in general and UNCLOS in particular. In June 2021, the country initiated the establishment of the UNCLOS Group of Friends, creating a forum for countries to share experience on the application and interpretation of the convention in the management and use of the seas; seek and encourage opportunities for cooperation; and step up the delivery of UNCLOS commitments. The group comprises nearly 120 countries as its members, including developed, developing and small island countries.

Most recently in October, Vietnam and 15 other countries introduced an initiative to seek advice from the International Court of Justice to clarify the responsibilities and obligations of countries for climate change on the basis of international treaties, including UNCLOS. The move aims to fight climate change via the sustainable use and management of seas and oceans.

Like other regions in the world, countries in the Asia-Pacific region and Southeast Asia attach great importance to and use UNCLOS to settle maritime disputes, from upholding the principle of peacefully addressing disputes to reaching solutions to specific cases, Giang said./.