UNCLOS greatly contributes to boosting regional maritime co-operation

VOV.VN - Hanoi hosted the 8th Ocean Dialogue took on June 29 under the theme “40th Anniversary of UNCLOS: Promoting maritime cooperation in Southeast Asia”, with the event featuring over 250 participants, including 15 speakers from 14 countries and territories, along with representatives from the UN

Upon addressing the event, Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Hieu underlined that the passing of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 40 years ago represented a historical milestone in the development of international law. This is mainly because it became the first comprehensive legal framework and a “constitution” of the sea.

The convention has since proved its universal values, he said, adding that it continues to play a fundamental role in the development of international law of the sea, particularly as it promotes peace, security, co-operation among nations, and the sustainable development of the oceans and seas.

Deputy Minister Hieu affirmed that over the past four decades, the legal order established following the UNCLOS has greatly contributed to maintaining peace and international stability. As a result, the peaceful settlement of disputes at sea in line with international law has been promoted.

Amid ever-increasing maritime challenges, the international community should seek to uphold the rule of law and fully comply in good faith with its legal obligations set out under the terms of the convention, especially those making claims and conducting legal proceedings at sea. States should therefore promote co-operation at international and regional levels for the conservation and sustainable use of seas and oceans, while simultaneously ensuring freedom of navigation and lawful navigational activities, he emphasised.

The Deputy Minister noted that in 2021, the nation was one of the 12 countries founding the Groups of Friends on UNCLOS, with commitments aimed at complying with and promoting the convention, the UN Charter and international law. He added his hopes that the group will continue to raise awareness and knowledge of the convention, while also sharing good practices in applying the convention in the delimitation of the sea, the peaceful settlement of disputes, and the management of the oceans. These efforts will thereby support the implementation of the convention and meeting the common interests of the international community as a whole.

In terms of the region, Deputy Minister Hieu underlined the necessity of applying universal values of the UNCLOS to promote co-operation on the foundation of respect for legitimate rights and the obligation of coastal states, as well as landlocked countries. This can be done among the members and non-members of the UNCLOS to maintain peace, stability, maritime and aviation security, as well as safety and the sustainable management of the East Sea.

With this in mind, states should respect international law, including the UNLCLOS, while also enhancing trust, exercising self-restraint, and refraining from activities that may further complicate the situation or escalate tensions in the Eat Sea. They should also seek to apply the convention in determining maritime claims and resolving maritime disputes through peaceful measures.

Rüdiger Wolfrum, former Justice of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, underscored the important role of the convention for the development of international law and the promotion of peace, security, and co-operation among countries, as well as the sustainable development of the sea and ocean.

He stressed that the UNCLOS should be applied comprehensively, not separately, but should also be linked with the dispute settlement mechanisms and all legal provisions of UNCLOS and international law. This underlines  the need for the convention to be further improved as it seeks to meet the requirements of the new situation moving forward.