VietNamNet Bridge - General Phung Quang Thanh, Minister of National Defense of Vietnam, on June 5, mentioned the Binh Minh 02 incident in his speech, which was delivered at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh at the 10th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
The Vietnamese Finance Minister’s speech was delivered at the fifth plenary session of the 10th Shangri-La Dialogue, which focused on responding to new maritime security threats in the East Sea.
“Clashing incidents have happened from time to time, giving rise to concerns for the littoral states,” he said.
“The most recent one took place on May 26, 2011, when the Binh Minh 02 – a Vietnamese surveying ship conducting its normal oil and gas exploration activities, well within Vietnam’s 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone, was interrupted with its surveying cables being cut, which has caused a considerable concern on the maintenance of peace and stability in the East Sea; in the region as well as the wider world”.
He confirmed: “Vietnam has exercised patience in managing the incident with peaceful means in accordance with the international laws and the principle of determinedly protecting our national sovereignty, while preserving peace and stability in the East Sea, and maintaining the friendly relationship with neighboring countries.”
“Certainly, we truly expect no repetition of similar incidents,” the Minister emphasized.
He called for related parties in conflicts in the East Sea to observe their commitments and to have rules to maintain peace and stability in the East Sea soon.
“Above all, it is a must for us to strictly uphold and abide fully by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982). Coming home to Southeast Asia, it is incumbent upon the concerned parties to fully implement the Declaration on the Conducts of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and work towards the conclusion of a Code of Conducts (COC) between ASEAN and China,” the Minister said.
He emphasized: “we have to further our maritime cooperation for development, via both bilateral and multilateral channels for the sake of mutual respect and understanding. In this connection, defense cooperation has an extremely important role to play in building and enhancing trust among the militaries, ensuring the absolute no use or threat to use of force; thus preserving peace, stability, protecting peaceful labor, economic and other maritime activities.”
“Regarding the incidents occurring at sea we must exercise patience, self-restraint and calmness from the strategic vision and full insight into the characteristics of the times, which requires strictly honoring and observing the international laws in a transparent manner,” the Vietnamese Defense Minister said.
He went on to say: “As a littoral state which is inflicted by wars, we deeply understand the values of peace and stability for our national construction and development. In this connection, Vietnam’s defense policies are directed at peace and self-defense.”
“We hold the line of expanding cooperative relations to militaries both inside and outside the region for the sake of promoting mutual understanding and respect, collaborating in activities to respond to common security threats, including those from the sea,” General Thanh said.
He affirmed that Vietnam views its national security closely linked to regional and international security, and that it stands ready to be a trustworthy friend and partner of countries in the international community, further promoting confidence building, developing friendly and cooperative relationship with neighboring countries and those in the region and the world for peace, stability and development.
Earlier, the Vietnamese Defense Minister, Phung Quang Thanh, met with his Chinese counterpart, Sen Lt General Liang Guanglie.
During his meeting with Liang, Thanh highlighted the fact that Chinese marine surveillance vessels had cut the cables of the seismic survey ship--Binh Minh 02, on May 26, while it was operating deep within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone. He also asked the two sides to adhere to commitments previously made by the two countries' leaders.
This incident, along with the Philippines’ objection against China, as Manila said that Chinese ships intrude into its territorial waters in the East Sea, has made the East Sea a hot spot in Southeast Asia and at the Shangri-La Dialogue.
Philippine Defense Minister, Voltaire Gazmin’s speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue mentioned challenges from states and non-state actors. “In some cases, these challenges result from actions by other states, which necessarily make other states like the Philippines worry and concerned,” he said.
“Addressing maritime security challenges requires militaries to cooperate among themselves. Indeed, what is needed is the cooperation from and among militaries. Not only should they cooperate with the civilian institution of their respective governments, but more importantly exercise self-restraint, specifically in undertaking actions which I have previously mentioned disturbed the peace and stability of the maritime domain,” he said.
Malaysian Defense Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi highlighted the importance of the East Sea, in terms of natural resources and maritime transport and proposed to solve disputes peacefully.
He said that the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea was an interim instrument to manage conflict between claimants in the East Sea, while the countries worked towards a ‘peaceful and durable solution’ to the problem.
“In this instance, Malaysia would like to suggest that claimant countries in the South China Sea work towards identifying and realizing actual confidence-building measure (CBM) activities that would help alleviate some of the tension in the area,” he said.
“This is indeed an important first step toward a journey of a thousand miles in ensuring maritime security in this region. Such a situation is not only critical for traditional security reasons, but also in ensuring that our economic growth is not distracted by the need for more naval arms acquisitions. Economic and social development should take precedence over military development, especially in a region such as ours,” he said.