4th Int’l Scientific Conference on the East Sea wraps up

On the afternoon of November 21, the 4th international scientific conference on the East Sea with the theme ‘South China Sea-Cooperation for Security and Development in the area’, co-organized by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and Vietnam Lawyers' Association in Ho Chi Minh City ended after three days.

More than 180 international experts, scientists, diplomats from 27 nations and territories around the world took part in the conference with 36 presentations and 107 ideas discussed at the workshop.

After three working days, the workshop produced eight petitions for solving the East Sea disputes, including encouraging multilateral maritime coalition among sensible like-minded countries; carefully calibrating national interests, taking into account the interests of other countries and the international community on natural resource activities, including oil and fish exploitation, as well as international sea routes through the area; fostering better co-ordination between domestic actors on the East Sea issues.

The workshop called for enhanced transparency on military modernization and confidence-building measures among navy/civilian fleets; bringing national claims in line with international law and conducting joint research to clarify the legal status of land features; and exercising self-restraint and promoting co-operation in the spirit of equity and mutual trust.

Many delegates said, the East Sea disputes have escalated far beyond regional concerns and become major international issues.

Representatives from the European Union, Japan, Russia and South Korea expressed desires for deeper involvement in solving the East Sea disputes.

A new dialogue among involved nations and other countries who have indirect interests in the sea should be set up, they suggested.

At its closing session, the international scientific workshop concluded "The East Sea disputes seem to put involved countries in a crisis and war is ready to occur if one of them makes a wrong calculation."

Delegates warned that military conflicts in the East Sea would expand to other seas around the world.

They agreed that historical experience shows that the use of force or threat of use of force will not be able to resolve disputes in the South China Sea, so the peaceful solution is the only way.

The participants also agreed that the U-shaped line and the so-called "historical rights" of China have no legal basis. They suggested each country should re-affirm its exclusive economic zones, negotiate rights in overlapping regions and convince China to give up its nine-dash line in East Sea, as well as fairly distribute natural resources.

The workshop has clarified disputes based on the International Sea Law 1982 and called for stronger co-operation, negotiation, no violence or threats to use violence, as well as an abidance of the Declaration of Conduct of the parties in the East Sea (DOC).

The scientists stressed that the Code of Conduct for the East Sea should be signed with a spirit of self-restraint and co-operation, while involved nations must avoid using threats or violence.

Participants also called all involved nations to play an active role in the management of disputes and preservation of peace in the region; and to confirm support for a Code of Conduct in the East Sea.

Source SGGP, translated by Dan

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