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Vietnam, Australia express concern over situation in East Vietnam Sea

Friday, August 23, 2019, 17:42 GMT+7
Vietnam, Australia express concern over situation in East Vietnam Sea
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) shakes hands with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison in Hanoi on August 23, 2019. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison have voiced their grave concern over the situation in the East Vietnam Sea during their bilateral talks in Hanoi on Friday morning.

Their meeting was held after the Australian premier arrived in the Vietnamese capital on Thursday for an August 22 to 24 official visit.

During Friday’s talks, the two leaders had a friendly and successful conversation and agreed on boosting the two nations’ ties in three important pillars, namely economic matters, security and defense, and partnership and reform, PM Phuc said alongside his Australian counterpart during a post-meeting press conference.

“We are deeply concerned about the recent developments in the East Vietnam Sea and consented on cooperating in the maintenance of peace, stability, security, and safety and freedom of navigation and overflight,” the Vietnamese premier stated.

Peaceful measures must be used instead of force to solve disputes in the maritime area, in accordance with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

With regard to national defense cooperation, both sides agreed to continue cooperating in such fields as anti-terrorism and United Nations peace-keeping operations.

The two premiers review the guards of honor in Hanoi on August 23, 2019. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

The two premiers review a guard of honor in Hanoi on August 23, 2019. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

The two countries will also step up bilateral security cooperation, including maritime and cyber security, and the fight against trans-national and human trafficking crimes.

During the talks, the two heads of government also reiterated the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Vietnam Sea (DOC), and called for the conclusion of a Code of Conduct (COC) for the East Vietnam Sea.

Chinese survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 and its escort vessels returned to again engage in a violation of Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf last week.

On July 19, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed for the first time the violations of Vietnam’s EEZ and Continental shelf by the Haiyang Dizhi 8 and its escort vessels in the southern area of the East Vietnam Sea.

Vietnam has made contact with China on multiple occasions via different channels, delivered diplomatic notes to oppose China’s violations, and staunchly demanded that Beijing stop all unlawful activities, withdraw its ships from Vietnamese waters, and respect Vietnam’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its waters, according to the foreign ministry's spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang.

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