The statement was made by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung who led a Vietnamese delegation to attend the 16th ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) on the Implementation of the DOC held in Manila, the Philippines, from October 25-26.

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Dung said that the escalating militarization and strategic competition between powers are likely to cause serious and unexpected incidents that threaten peace, security and stability in the region and the world.

Sharing the COC negotiation process, the Vietnamese official said that besides common perceptions, the document needs to equalize and take parties’ interests into account, map out principles and orientations for cooperative activities, and create a framework to maintain dialogue on the East Sea in the time to come.

Reviewing the East Sea situation and the implementation of the DOC, many countries showed their concern over the increasing militarization, unilateral acts and risks of conflicts between the countries’ armed forces.

The SOM emphasized the importance of ensuring peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of aviation and navigation in the East Sea through dialogue and cooperation, the full and effective implementation of the DOC and greater efforts to build a practical and effective COC that conforms with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

On this occasion, the ASEAN and Chinese senior officials agreed to extend the action plan on the implementation of the DOC during 2016-2021.

They also acknowledged the ASEAN-China Joint Working Group (JWG)’s efforts to negotiate the COC, urging the JWG to step up exchanges and discussions to achieve effective negotiations in the coming time.

Earlier, on October 24-25, the ASEAN-China JWG on the implementation of the DOC convened its 26th session in Manila.

Source: VNA