VietNamNet Bridge – Maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea is necessary for the whole region and the benefit of coastal countries and related nations, stated a declaration issued at an international seminar on the East Sea that wrapped up in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Tuesday.
According to the declaration, participants agreed that the East Sea is a multilateral issue, from maintaining peace and stability, to ensuring free travel and the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), signed by ASEAN member countries and China in October 2002.
The declaration affirmed that China's claim to territorial sovereignty with the "nine dotted line" or "U-shaped line" that accounts for 80 per cent of the East Sea was irrelevant in the current context and was criticised by the international community.
Concerned parties needed to keep to their commitments and deal with territorial and legal disputes in the East Sea through peaceful negotiations in conformity with international rules and law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the five principles of peaceful coexistence, strengthening efforts to build trust, multilateral co-operation on maritime safety, scientific research, crime prevention, and looking towards the signing of the Code of the Conduct on the East Sea (COC), the declaration said.
The future signing of the COC would be a joint effort by ASEAN and China in a positive move towards peace and stability in the region, according to the declaration.
Not only regional countries, but also powerful nations outside the region such as Australia, India, Japan, Russia, the Republic of Korea and the United States which play a useful role in maintaining the current situation needed to support the DOC, it said.
The declaration added that ASEAN and China should continue to take positive steps under the DOC and speed up efforts towards the signing of the COC.
The ASEAN Secretariat may be more effective in dealing with conflicts, it said, adding that ASEAN must adhere to the principle of unity, solidarity and unanimity in co-ordinating and developing the bloc's position in dialogues with its partners related to East Sea issues and discussions about the COC.
The ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) Plus mechanism should be viewed as an important forum to accelerate constructive commitments between ASEAN and its partners in strategic, security and defence issues that have an impact on the region.
Themed, Prospects of Co-operation and Convergence of the Issues and Dynamics in the East Sea, the seminar drew the participation of 150 delegates, including scholars, researchers from Australia, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Singapore, the US and Viet Nam, and representatives from embassies of ASEAN countries, China, Russia and the US.
In his closing speech, A B Mahapatra, Director of India's Centre for Asian Strategic Studies, affirmed that dealing with disputes and building trust in the context of global independence and complex conflicts were urgent needs.
In that spirit, building capacity and trust in the East Sea and institutionalising dialogues on issues that may cause differences would provide necessary support for the Asia-Pacific region, he finished.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News