Int’l seminar on East Vietnam Sea disputes held in southern metropolis

Over 50 researchers, including foreigners, are gathering in Ho Chi Minh City for a conference on possible solutions for the East Vietnam Sea disputes

Russian scholar Evgeny Kanaev speaks at the two-day seminar on the East Vietnam Sea issues opened at the Ton Duc Thang University in Ho Chi Minh City on July 25, 2014.

A two-day international conference focusing on measures to settle disputes in the East Vietnam Sea in line with international law is currently taking place in Ho Chi Minh City.

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The event opened on Friday at Ton Duc Thang University, the host of the event, which draws more than 50 scholars and researchers from the United States, Sweden, India, Australia, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, China and Russia.

In his opening speech, Chairman of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor Dang Ngoc Tung said disputes on the East Vietnam Sea in recent years have not only affected the livelihood of thousands of Vietnamese fishermen, but also threatened peace, navigation freedom and security in the sea.

Therefore, it is necessary to organize international workshops with the participation of international policy makers and scholars to seek optimal solutions to East Vietnam Sea issues in line with international law as well as Vietnam’s peace-loving tradition.

Professor Nguyen Manh Hung of George Mason University in the U.S. stressed that this workshop should seek solutions to enable Vietnamese fishermen to continue using their traditional fishing grounds at sea.

Meanwhile, Dr. S.D. Pradhan from India’s Chandigarh University, the former Deputy National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of India, pointed out that the international community has made great efforts to maintain peace in the East Vietnam Sea, but these efforts were ignored by China, which is undertaking aggressive acts in the sea area.

Dr. Pradhan emphasized that China has committed aggressive acts not only at sea but also on land, and that all such acts have been planned concretely for each specific period.

He also said China's illegal deployment of the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 in the East Vietnam Sea from May 1 to July 16, 2014 belonged to a long-term plan to expand China's sovereignty in the sea.

In order to deal with the current disputes effectively, the international community should raise a common voice that is strong enough to make concerned parties comply with international law, he said.

Prof. Ramses Amer from the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Sweden, was of the view that countries involved in a same issue should work together to counter China’s demands, particularly its stance of dealing with disputes through bilateral talks.

As many as 22 important papers are expected to be presented at the conference, which continues Saturday, July 26.

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