12th Ocean Dialogue: Enduring Maritime Connectivity in a Fragmenting World

Vietnam is strongly committed to navigation safety, navigation and overflight freedom, and unimpeded maritime connectivity in line with international law.
March 19, 2024 | 18:09
12th Ocean Dialogue: Enduring Maritime Connectivity in a Fragmenting World
At the event (Photo: VNA)

On March 15, the 12th Ocean Dialogue with the theme "Enduring Maritime Connectivity in a Fragmenting World" co-organized by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Foundation in Vietnam (KAS) took place in Ho Chi Minh City.

Assistant attended the event to the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Minh Vu, more than 130 delegates attended directly on site and more than 50 delegates registered to attend online, including 20 speakers from 12 countries and international organizations; nearly 30 representatives of foreign representative agencies in Vietnam from nearly 20 countries and territories; nearly 70 representatives from central departments, ministries, branches and from 11 coastal localities across the country.

The 12th Ocean Dialogue includes four discussion sessions on the following: Ensuring maritime corridors in the context of increasing strategic competition at sea in the world and region; Sustainable smart seaports - an irreversible trend in the green economy; connecting maritime infrastructure in the age of digital technology; and seek initiatives to connect green corridors in marine space.

In his opening remarks, Nguyen Minh Vu, Assistant to the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs highly appreciated the topicality of this Dialogue topic, placed in the context of the world facing rapid changes, in which the trend of polarization and segmentation are increasing. Any incident at sea can impact countries and global supply chains.

Vu said that the maritime network serves as a vital trade route, accounting for 80% of global trade. Maritime connectivity facilitates cultural exchange, scientific research, and tourism and plays an important role not only in responding to disaster incidents and humanitarian aid but also in cables and optical fiber, which is the backbone of global digital connectivity.

On the other hand, today's maritime connectivity is also strongly influenced by digitalization, automation, and green energy transition.

As a coastal country that uses the sea, Vietnam has built a strategy for sustainable development of the sea-based economy by 2030, with a vision to 2045, which stresses maritime connectivity. The prosperity of the Vietnamese economy now depends on the safety and security of navigation corridors.

Vietnam views safeguarding safety, security, and freedom of navigation in line with international law as essential. The country pledges to maintain rules-based order and believes that respecting the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provides a foundation for ensuring peace, stability, and order at sea and is also the most appropriate way for resolving sea-related disputes, according to Vu.

At the Dialogue, scholars discussed the connotations and sketched a comprehensive picture of "maritime connectivity", not only from the perspective of security and geopolitics but also from specialized perspectives such as maritime transportation, communications, marine ecological environment, renewable energy...

Most agree that maritime connectivity makes an extremely important contribution to ensuring supply chains and global economic development as well as strengthening the legal order at sea. Besides favorable factors, more and more challenges are emerging that hinder maritime connectivity such as climate change, illegal fishing, conflicts in some important maritime routes, or the risk of attacks in cyberspace...

Regarding seaport connectivity, many experts believe that smart ports have been a model to serve sustainable development, within the overall global green connection system. Currently, Southeast Asia is considered the region with the most dynamic seaport system, with many maritime routes connecting the region and the globe.

Experts also shared factors that ensure the success of the smart seaport model such as technology and data. There is also an opinion that in the process of digital transformation, people are the most important factor, therefore, it is necessary to strengthen skills and knowledge about seaport operations and seaport services.

At the event, many scholars in the region shared practical experiences from other countries; and discussed and proposed initiatives and ideas to ensure maritime security and connectivity, placed in the context of digital transformation, green energy transition, and the trend of reducing carbon emissions.

It is argued that countries need to strengthen cooperation to deal with security challenges in maritime space, in which promoting the central role of ASEAN will contribute to reducing negative impacts from geopolitical competition. value and promote maritime connectivity in the region.

Speaking at the end of the Dialogue, Deputy Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, Dr. Nguyen Hung Son, highly appreciated the discussions at the 12th Ocean Dialogue, which will help policymakers comprehensively understand the above connectivity in maritime space and hopes to open up opportunities to build trust and promote cooperation for a future of sustainable development.

Ocean Dialogue is an initiative of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam to connect scientists to discuss marine science, combining policy discussions and legal frameworks towards sustainable maritime governance.

To date, the Academy has successfully organized 12 Dialogues and received many positive feedback from participating delegates. Many quality publications have been published from Dialogue.

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