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Vietnam, China strive to reach Code of Conduct in the Bien Dong Sea

Jasmine Le Jasmine Le

lehang1997hanu@gmail.com

June 10, 2021 | 09:49

Both nations concurred to maintain peace and stability in the Bien Dong Sea (intenationally called South China Sea) and soon reach a practical and effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

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Vietnam, China strive to reach Code of Conduct in the Bien Dong Sea
Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son (L) and Chinese State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (Photo: VNA)

The agreement was reached at a meeting Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son and Chinese State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi on June 8 during his attendance at the Special ASEAN - China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the Mekong - Lancang Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Chongqing, China, according to VOV.

Son congratulated the Communist Party of China on its 100th founding anniversary on July 1, 2021, and its achievements in socio-economic development and COVID-19 containment efforts.

Wang congratulated Vietnam on the successful organization of the 13th National Party Congress.

The two ministers held a wide-ranging discussion on bilateral ties and regional and global issues of shared concern.

They underscored the importance of Vietnam – China relations in each country’s foreign policy, and showed their elation at the friendly neighborliness and the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership over the past years.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh of Vietnam have held important phone talks with Chinese Party General Secretary and President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang and reached common perceptions on reinforcing ties between the two Parties and countries.

The pair agreed to enhance the two foreign ministries’ important role in coordinating and promoting Vietnam - China ties, work out a score of specific measures to realize high-level common perceptions such as facilitating exchanges at all levels, promoting exchanges and cooperation between the two countries’ ministries, departments, and localities, and jointly combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

They pledged to promote economic-trade and investment ties in a practical, healthy, and balanced manner and foster people-to-people exchanges while maintaining cooperation at multilateral forums, especially at the UN and within the ASEAN framework.

Son suggested China offer the best possible conditions for Vietnamese farm produce to enter the country, especially fruits in harvest, soon complete procedures to open and upgrade several border gates, effectively deploy Chinese aid to Vietnam, and swiftly finalize existing projects.

Regarding the East Sea issue, the Vietnamese minister asked the two sides to seriously implement high-level common perceptions and abide by international law, particularly the 1982 UNCLOS, uphold the role of negotiation mechanisms, and seek basic and long-term solutions to the issue.

In response, Wang, affirmed that his nation desires to push up strategic exchange and political trust with Vietnam, and deepen the mutually-beneficial relationship in a healthy and stable manner.

He voiced China’s support for Vietnam in its fight against the pandemic, including the supply, research, and production of vaccines.

Wang assured China’s readiness to import more Vietnamese goods in line with the Chinese market's demand.

Vietnam, China strive to reach Code of Conduct in the Bien Dong Sea
Spokesperson for the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang at Thursday's press briefing in Hanoi. (Photo: VNA)

Earlier last October, Foreign Ministry Le Thi Thu Hang also responded to reports of Philippines’ foreign secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. stating that the country is “pushing as hard as it can” for the substantial progress on the second reading of the negotiating draft and getting started on the COC before the country hands over the ASEAN-China country co-ordinator role to Myanmar next year.

"The resumption of negotiations for the COC following the interruption due to Covid-19 is a priority for ASEAN countries and China. Sharing the priority, Vietnam wishes to resume negotiations in documents with relevant countries, progressing to achieve a comprehensive and effective COC in accordance with international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)," Hang said.

Locsin had expressed his wish at the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) held online on September 12, the Inquirer reported.

Vietnam, China strive to reach Code of Conduct in the Bien Dong Sea
China's Liaoning aircraft carrier with accompanying fleet conducts a drill in an area of the South China Sea in a photo taken in December, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

ASEAN countries and China finished their first reading of the draft code in the sea last year, while three readings are planned, with 2021 supposed to be the year when the code is fully fleshed out and hoped to resolve conflicts in the resource-rich waterway.

Also at the briefing, Ms. Le Thi Thu Hang remarked that China's reported live-fire drills in the Bien Dong Sea "jeopardize" peace and security in the region.

The spokesperson said China's activities near the Hoang Sa archipelago are contrary to the spirit of the existing Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), complicate the situation and are not conducive to COC talks.

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Jasmine Le