International conference on East Sea opens in Khanh Hoa

Monday, 2016-11-14 18:15:36
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Scene at the eighth International Conference on the East Sea (Photo: VNA)
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NDO/VNA—The eighth International Conference on the East Sea, themed “Cooperation for Regional Security and Development,” kicked off in the city of Nha Trang in the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa on November 14.

The event, jointly held by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV), the Foundation for East Sea Studies and the Vietnam Lawyers Association, brings together nearly 200 delegates, including close to 60 foreign scholars.

Amidst notable developments in the East Sea in the past year, the conference offers an opportunity for domestic and foreign scholars and researchers to share information and assess recent developments and their repercussions, while discussing possibilities for further cooperation in the region.

Nearly 30 reports will be presented in the course of the two-day conference, which comprises seven thematic sessions focusing on the historical perspective of the cause of disputes in the East Sea, international law and the East Sea, political economy, security, politics and diplomacy regarding the waters, interactions and coordination at sea and mechanisms for the management of tension in the East Sea.

Through discussion, the delegates are seeking opportunities and initiatives to promote understanding and cooperation in the East Sea in the spirit of the principles of international law.

A special session will be held for the first time for representatives of the naval and law enforcement forces of relevant countries, who will discuss interaction and coordination measures in order to avoid unexpected clashes and boost maritime cooperation.

Within the framework of the event, the annual Young Leaders Programme will gather eight young researchers and PhD candidates from seven countries, aiming to build a network of young researchers on the East Sea issue in the hope they will contribute fresh views on how to step up cooperation for peace and development in the sea.

In his opening remarks, Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Vu Tung, PhD, Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, said tensions in the region have shown no sign of cooling down in 2016 as conflict and change continue.

He cited as examples dangerous clashes between fishing boats and law enforcement ships from countries near Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago and, especially, Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago, while island reclamation and militarisation in disputed areas are becoming increasingly complicated.

At the same time, the maritime environment in the region has declined at an alarming rate, Tung added.

The scholar said he hopes initiatives will be put forth at the event to help the governments of the concerned countries to coordinate with one another to improve security and common development in the East Sea, especially ideas aiming to build, consolidate and utilise regional security mechanisms to manage disputes and handle complex issues in the sea peacefully.

Le Thanh Quang, Secretary of Khanh Hoa’s provincial Party Committee, expressed concern at the situation in the East Sea, where competition sometimes overshadows cooperation and where international law has not been respected at times and in some places, undermining trust between countries in the region.

The situation poses the urgent need to seek a long-term solution to regional disputes as well as mechanisms to maintain order and law at sea, he said.

Attention should be paid not only to peace and stability, but also to issues regarding the rights and obligations of the related parties, the livelihoods of coastal residents and the sustainability of the ocean ecology, he said.

On this occasion, a new website providing the latest research studies on maritime security, politics, economy and relevant laws was launched at http://maritimeissues.com./.