East Sea disputes need to be controlled, scholar says 

Published: 02/07/2011 05:00



A Vietnamese scholar who returned from a maritime security conference in the US last month said the East Sea disputes need to be controlled so they don’t affect the region’s security and peace.


Strengthening frameworks, including a code of conduct in the East Sea, makes related countries more responsible to their commitments and signed agreements, Dang Dinh Quy, director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, said in an interview with Lao Dong newspaper. 


Without frameworks and political commitments from related parties, the worst scenario will likely happen, he stressed.


He also quoted Prof Stein Tonnesson from the Norwegian-owned Institute for Peace Research as saying that China needs to respect international laws, especially sea laws, to set an example for other countries.


The professor told the conference on the maritime security in the East Sea, held by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, that China needs to have friendship with neighboring countries and make negotiations, if they are to benefit from the East Sea’s resources.


Quy also quoted Tonnesson as saying that the cooperation between Vietnam and China in the Bac Bo (Tonkin) Gulf is “a good example for solving the East Sea’s issues.”


“Sovereignty disputes in the East Sea can’t be solved overnight but over many decades and many generations,” Quy said.


The scholar also told the newspaper that at the conference, the US directly mentioned the nine-dash, or U-shaped line, with which China claims to over 80 percent of the East Sea.


It’s the first time the US directly talked about the nine-dash via a statement by Senator John McCain, he said.


McCain talked about relations between China’s excessive claims and challenges to the US-managed marine security, Quy said, adding that the senator also proposed his government reconsider its East Sea’s position.


“[McCain’s approach] is moderate and totally voiced out the truth,” Quy said.


Quy said the statements of McCain as well as other US officials at the conference also helped reiterate the principle that US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton once stated.


That is, “the East Sea isn’t the issue of ASEAN and China only, but also all parties that have benefits in using it like the US, Japan, South Korea, India and Australia,” they said.


Also for the first time a Chinese scholar, Dr. Su Hao from the Beijing-based China Foreign Affairs University, explained about the U-shaped line at the official forum.


While Su said that the line is a historical inheritance, he admitted that there are still many unclear points, according to Quy.


Meanwhile, another scholar from the Shanghai Institute for International Studies said China would face many internal troubles, if the issue reached multilateral negotiations.


“It was the first time China mentioned a multilateral viewpoint. Although it was just a personal idea, it showed that inside China there are many arguments about conducts towards the U-shaped line, its status and the country’s policies,” Quy said.


He said international experts, in general, concluded that China’s recent acts in the East Sea came from internal causes.


Some interest groups in China want the country stronger and more self-confident in protecting its benefits in the East Sea, according to Quy.


“Internal influences, extreme nationalism … have led to such acts,” he added.


However, the scholar stressed that when these acts become policy, China has to consider immediate and long-term benefits, and winning the heart of neighboring countries to help keep it a powerful country.  


The conference, organized by a US research institute, had the participation of international scholars and officials. Quy thinks these reactions from the world will be “a mirror” for Chinese policy makers to reflect on their acts.


“ASEAN doesn’t hope for anything but a win-win doctrine where all countries benefit,” he stressed.


Source: Thanh Nien

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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