International law key to East Sea dispute

Upholding the rule of law is fundamental to maintaining peace and security in the East Sea, said experts at a maritime workshop in Hanoi on November 29.

The international workshop themed “Navigating towards the free and open seas of Asia: the Rule of Law and International Cooperation”, brought together some 70 legal experts and international affairs scholars from Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

Co-organised by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV), the Embassy of Japan and the British Embassy, the workshop was the first collaborative event between the three countries in efforts to exchange views and propose mechanism for further cooperation based on international law.

The arbitral ruling on July 12 in The Hague, the Netherlands, was deemed a landmark event on the way to resolve complicated disputes in the East Sea even through China refused to either participate in or acknowledge the findings.

“There are an increasing number of cases where interests of countries clash with each other. There is growing concern about unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force,” Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Kunio Umeda said at the workshop.

According to Ha Anh Tuan, Director of the Policy Research Centre of the Institute for East Sea Studies, proposals came up to heighten the role of international law at sea, however, a few of them was realized in reality.

Participants agreed on the need to uphold the rule of law and respect international law when dealing with the desire to have peace, stability and prosperity in free and open seas in Asia.

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