The seminar, focusing on EU – ASEAN and East Sea, territorial dispute, power competition and economic interests, was co-organised by the Belgium’s Royal Institute for International Relations (Egmont), the Asia – Pacific Media and Asia Centre in France.
The event gathered nearly 70 speakers specialised in law and international relations from the European External Action Service, the UK’s Royal Institute of International Affairs, the Egmont, the Foundation for Strategic Research, and the France’s Centre for International Studies.
They analysed China’s continued construction of military establishments on artificial islands that have disrupted the status quo in the East Sea as well as China’s unilateral actions that exacerbate tension in the region.
Participants raised their idea that the EU should cooperate with the ASEAN via the ASEAN Regional Forum, encourage multilateralisation, and seek proper measures to settle disputes.
The EU’s stance on the East Sea was also reaffirmed at the event, which highlighted the protection of maritime freedom, resolute respect for international law, including maritime law and rulings by the tribunal, and encouragement of the settlement of disputes at sea by peaceful means, and rejection of unilateral actions that could change the status quo and intensify tension.
Via the event, the organisers expected to draw European public attention to the recent tension in the East Sea caused by China’s serious violations of international law, sovereign and jurisdiction rights, as well as hindrance to legal oil and gas activities in exclusive economic zones of Vietnam and a number of other coastal countries in the region.