Strengthening Maritime Cooperation in Vietnam's Precious Waters

Being more proactive in advancing and promoting maritime cooperation is one of the best ways to protect the national interests at sea, making Vietnam a strong country in terms of its abundant marine resources over the long and short terms, said Nguyen Manh Dong, Vice Chairman at National Border Commission.
September 17, 2022 | 10:06
Strengthening Maritime Cooperation in Vietnam's Precious Waters
Lan Ha Bay (Photo: Bao Quang Ninh)

At the 13th National Congress, the Communist Party of Vietnam set out goals and orientations to carry on the process of national construction and development for the 2021-2025 period. Regarding border and territorial issues, the country strives "To maximize the national interests in line with the UN Charter and the fundamental principles of international law and on the basis of equality and win-win cooperation."

Regarding maritime cooperation, Resolution No. 36-NQ/TW on the strategy for the sustainable development of Viet Nam's marine economy by 2030, with a vision to 2045 also defines the viewpoint and direction of maritime cooperation as "Strengthen and expand foreign relations and international cooperation, actively participate and positively contribute to the common efforts of the international community in the conservation and sustainable use of the sea and the ocean; utilize the resources and international support to improve the capacity of marine management and exploitation, with a focus on the fields of science, technology, knowledge, and human resource training."

The strengthening of regional and international cooperation in marine issues needs to establish a number of particular objectives in the next phase in light of the aforementioned direction and guidance as well as new changes in the situation.

First and foremost, to bring about a significant transformation in maritime cooperation by seizing the chance to advance win-win cooperation on the basis of safeguarding national interests at sea and in compliance with international law, in particular, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

Second, to expedite peaceful settlements of disputes in the South China Sea area on the basis of international law, UN Charter and UNCLOS, thereby maintaining good friendships with other countries and ensuring a peaceful and stable environment for national construction and development, strengthening the foundation for maritime cooperation;

Third, to improve, expand, and form the mechanisms for maritime cooperation with nations with which there are conflicts, or potential for cooperation in fields of fundamental marine scientific research, marine environment protection, sustainable fisheries development, climate change responses, and development of new sources of energy.

Fourth, to use specific programs, projects, and plans on exploiting, using, and promoting the strengths of the sea to turn marine cooperation into a new driving force for socio-economic development.

The sea offers great economic development potential for coastal countries. Ha Long Bay. Photo: Ollie Le Nguyen
The sea offers great economic development potential for coastal countries. Ha Long Bay. Photo: Ollie Le Nguyen

To achieve the goals, Vietnam needs to promote a number of key solutions in the coming time:

First, improve public knowledge of the value, significance, and role of maritime cooperation in defending national rights and interests at sea in connection with upholding peace and stability to advance the nation, viewing maritime cooperation as an efficient tool to complete this duty. The XIII Party Congress, Resolution No. 36-NQ/TW, the Eighth Conference of the 12th Party Central Committee on Strategy Sustainable Development of Vietnam's Marine Economy to 2030, with a Vision to 2045, and Prime Minister's Decision No. 647/QD-TTG Approving the International Cooperation Project on Sustainable Development of the Marine Economy must all be adhered to during the implementation process.

Second, continue to cooperate with nations in the South China Sea region to seek a final settlement to the conflict over overlapping waters, establishing a global legal framework for the exercise of sovereignty, sovereign rights, and maritime jurisdiction. Provisional measures of collaboration may be taken into consideration during this procedure in accordance with the pertinent clauses of the UNCLOS.

Third, increase maritime cooperation with regional and international organizations at the regional, national, and international levels. To do this, it is necessary to actively engage more deeply in international organizations with a maritime focus, such as the IMO, UNEP, FAO, regional fisheries organizations, and regional and interregional marine cooperation institutions. In this process, it is essential to actively support the ASEAN-China implementation of the DOC and work toward swiftly achieving a functional and substantive COC in compliance with international law, especially UNCLOS.

Fourth, enlist the support, help, and transfer of technologies and tools for conducting marine scientific research from capable partners; increase the team's ability to work on maritime cooperation by sending personnel to training in marine science and technology, legal science, the ability to enforce maritime law, and maritime security.

On the basis of the experience and accomplishments of marine cooperation over the years, as a country bordering the South China Sea with numerous potentials and advantages in maritime cooperation, we need to further strengthen maritime cooperation. For the development of the nation and national interests at sea, maritime cooperation is crucial to preserving peace and stability in the region.

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