June 19, 2023
NEW YORK – Ambassador Đặng Hoàng Giang, Permanent Representative of Việt Nam to the United Nations, has expressed concern that recent developments in the East Sea could affect peace, security and development.
Addressing the 33rd meeting of States Parties to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which took place in New York from June 12-16, Giang affirmed that over the past four decades, the UNCLOS, often referred to as the “Constitution for the Oceans,” had provided a legal framework regulating all activities at sea. The Convention and its implementation agreements had laid a foundation for cooperation and actions by nations, regions, and the global community in maritime affairs.
The ambassador highlighted Việt Nam’s efforts in implementing the UNCLOS, including the National Strategy on Climate Change until 2050. As one of the founding members of the UNCLOS Group of Friends, Việt Nam reaffirmed its commitment to the Convention and the preservation of its universality, integrity, and full implementation, Giang said.
Reiterating Việt Nam’s stance on the settlement of disputes by peaceful means in line with international law, especially the UNCLOS, he affirmed that “respecting the sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction of coastal states over their territorial waters established by the Convention is a prerequisite for maintaining and ensuring peace, security, and prosperity in the East Sea”.
On this occasion, the head of the Vietnamese delegation called on all relevant countries to exercise restraint and refrain from engaging in activities that could complicate the situation or escalate tensions.
At a discussion on the report of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), the Vietnamese delegation stressed that the ITLOS had well performed its role as the judicial organ established under the UNCLOS and acknowledged the capacity-building programmes for developing countries conducted by the ITLOS. Furthermore, given the increasing challenges and emerging issues at sea, the role of ITLOS as the guardian of the integrity and comprehensiveness of the Convention had become increasingly important.
The Vietnamese side hoped that the ITLOS would seriously consider the request of the Pacific Island States for opinions on climate change and international law, thereby clarifying the obligations of countries in protecting the marine environment while considering the legitimate rights and interests of developing nations. They also announced their intention to submit the national position on this matter to the ITLOS.
Regarding the report of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), the Vietnamese delegation highlighted the need for improvements in the CLCS’s process of examining submissions on the limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles to ensure the full and effective implementation of the UNCLOS. This is especially important in determining the “outer limits of the continental shelf” to proceed with the implementation of the Agreement on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) after its adoption and entry into force in the near future.
The meeting reviewed the UN Secretary-General’s annual report which called for urgent efforts to address challenges faced by developing countries, including building capacity, developing a sustainable blue economy, and innovative financial solutions.
Delegates underlined the need to comply with the UNCLOS and enhance regional and global cooperation in maritime and ocean-related affairs to address challenges such as marine pollution, climate change, rising sea level, contributing to realising sustainable development goals related to the conservation and sustainable development of the oceans and marine resources.
On this occasion, UNCLOS member states elected seven judges for the ITLOS for the 2023-2032 tenure. VNA/VNS