Vietnam, Australia express serious concerns over developments in East Sea

Update: 15:18 | 23/08/2019
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Australian counterpart Scott Morrison expressed their serious concerns over the recent developments, including militarization and hindrance of oil exploitation projects, in the East Sea.
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vietnam australia express serious concerns over developments in east sea
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison shake hands before their talks at the Government Office, Ha Noi on August 23. (Photo: Nguyen Hong)

At the talks on Friday, the two leaders emphasized the importance of freedom of navigation and overflights, observation of international law, and maintenance of rule-based order.

They called on parties to exercise self-restraint and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation in the East Sea.

The pair reaffirmed that all countries need to continue settling disputes through peaceful measures while underlining the importance of dispute resolution mechanisms under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), calling on parties to respect and implement the rulings issued by the mechanisms.

They also reaffirmed the importance of full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and called for conclusion of a Code of Conduct between ASEAN and China that fully abides by the international law, especially the UNCLOS.

Regarding their bilateral ties, the two PMs expressed their pleasure at the robust, dynamic and fruitful advancement of the Vietnam-Australia relations over the past time.

Both sides agreed to lift up the two-way trade value to US$10 billion by 2020 from US$7.8 billion in 2018, pledging to support a rule-based multilateral trading system and accelerate regional economic integration.

The two sides agreed that bilateral defense and security cooperation has been increasingly effective and practical, especially Australia has assisted Vietnam in joining United Nations-led peace-keeping operations.

Morrison agreed that the two countries will step up bilateral security cooperation, including maritime and cyber security, combat of trans-national and human trafficking crimes.

He voiced strong support for Vietnam to take over the roles as ASEAN Chair and non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council in 2020.

Meanwhile, Phuc affirmed Vietnam backs stronger connectivity between ASEAN and Australia, hoping that Australia will help enhance Mekong sub-region cooperation, especially in connectivity, information technology and communication, climate change adaptation and water resource management.

After the talks, the two PMs witnessed the signing of cooperative documents on e-Government development, finance, human trafficking combat, and aviation.

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(Source: VGP)