Ottawa (VNA) – Vietnam was among the first to sign the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1982, calling on other countries in the ASEAN region to respect and abide by this document, said Bryon Wilfert, a former MP and a member of the Research Advisory Board at the Canadian-based think tank Macdonald Laurier Institute.
Talking to the Vietnam News Agency correspondent in Ottawa with regard to the convention’s 40th anniversary, Wilfert said UNCLOS plays an important role in clearly establishing rules for the environment and the management of marine resources.
For countries like Vietnam, this document provides clear boundaries between seabed users and coastal states with universal provisions, he noted.
He highlighted the role of the Group of Friends on 1982 UNCLOS, established in June 2021 under an initiative by Canada, Vietnam, and 10 other countries, in promoting the Sustainable Development Goal No. 14 on conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development, and emphasised that this is an area where both Canada and Vietnam have common interests to promote.
Regarding the settlement of sea-related disputes in the world, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, including the East Sea, the expert said that Canada has clearly expressed its view that all parties must abide by the rules of 1982 UNCLOS, which Ottawa sees as a useful and important milestone in peacefully resolving disputes in the region.
Sharing her view about the convention on its 40th anniversary, Bec Strating, Director of La Trobe Asia and Associate Professor in Politics and International Relations at La Trobe University (Australia), stressed UNCLOS is an outstanding achievement of international cooperation.
Although the provisions of UNCLOS still have some limitations, the convention has indeed created a framework for a just and equal global maritime order that many countries continue to support, uphold and safeguard, she stated.
Concerning the establishment of the Group of Friends on 1982 UNCLOS, the expert said the introduction of such diplomatic initiatives is important in rallying the support of like-minded states to ensure the maritime order based on UNCLOS and international law of the sea.
The achievement of the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) is a success for Southeast Asian countries as it is the first time China has signed a multilateral agreement on the East Sea issue, she said.
The DOC has set the stage for multinational negotiations, including a Code of Conduct in the waters (COC), added Strating./.