The marine and island territory firmly embedded in Vietnamese minds for ages

The nation's thousands-year process of building and defending the country has shaped the Vietnamese people's consciousness of national sovereignty on not only the land but also the sea and island territories.
The marine and island territory firmly embedded in Vietnamese minds for ages
An Bang island, Truong Sa archipelagos. (Photo: Nguyen Hong)

East Sea is the Vietnamese name referring to the Eastern Sea of Vietnam. With a coastline stretching 3,260 km, from Cape Ngoc in Mong Cai, Quang Ninh province to Ha Tien, Kien Giang province, Vietnam's exclusive economic zone is more than 1 million square kilometers wide, 3 times larger than the mainland area, ranking 27/157 coastal countries.

In this sea area, there are Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos belonging to Vietnam along with about 2,773 large and small islands located in coastal waters.

Important role

From a very early age, Vietnamese people have had a close connection with the sea. In the mind, as well as in Vietnamese culture, the sea and islands are an inseparable part of the sacred territory.

More from WVR
Sinh Ton island, crashing the blue wave Sinh Ton island, crashing the blue wave

Vietnam has maritime borders with China, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. For Vietnam, the East Sea, including the waters within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone, has been a space for Vietnamese as well as the nation to survive, live and develop.

This is a region containing extremely rich and diverse natural resources. At the same time, it has a geo-strategic position in economics, politics, diplomacy, security and defense. Therefore, the East Sea plays an extremely important role in the cause of construction, protection and development of Vietnam today.

A seaward strategy country

Recognizing that the 21st century is the century of the ocean, and at the same time determining the importance of seas and islands, on February 9, 2007, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam issued Resolution No. 09-NQ/ Central Committee on Vietnam's Marine Strategy to 2020 with a number of viewpoints guiding the strategic direction.

Firstly, Vietnam must become a strong sea-oriented country, enriching itself on the basis of promoting all potential from the sea, comprehensively developing marine industries with a rich and modern structure, creating rapid, sustainable, highly effective development with a long-term vision.

Secondly, closely combine socio-economic development with ensuring national defense and security, international cooperation and environmental protection; developing coastal and island areas along with developing inland areas towards industrialization and modernization.

Thirdly, exploit all resources for socio-economic development, protect the marine environment in the spirit of initiative, openness, fully and effectively promote internal resources; take advantage of international cooperation, strongly attract external resources according to the principle of equality and mutual benefit, firmly protect the country's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In 2012, at the third session of the 13th Vietnam National Assembly, the National Assembly approved the Vietnam Sea Law. This is an important legal basis in marine economic management, protection and development of Vietnam.

Vietnam's Law of the Sea clarifies the notions of the baselines, internal waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone, continental shelf, islands, Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos, other areas under Vietnam's sovereignty, sovereign rights, and national jurisdiction; operation in Vietnamese waters; marine economic development; managing and protecting seas and islands, etc.

Such marine and island policies and guidelines are of inheritance, comprehensiveness, systematicity and synchronous development. That clearly shows the current sea-oriented policy of Vietnam.

Consistent views

In the complex context of the East Sea and international trends on seas and islands integration of the region and the world, the provisions of the International Law of the Sea are the most important legal basis for relevant countries to use in negotiating and resolving maritime and island sovereignty disputes.

For its part, Vietnam is always consistent in its stance of being ready to be a friend and reliable partner of countries in the international community, striving for peace, independence and development in the period of innovation and international integration. Vietnam conducts a policy of expanding international cooperation with countries in the region and around the world based on the basic principles of international law and Vietnam's viewpoint of respecting independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-intervention in each other's internal affairs; Equality, mutual benefit, for peace, in accordance with Vietnamese law and relevant international treaties to which Vietnam is a member.

The marine and island territory firmly embedded in Vietnamese minds for ages
Officers and soldiers of the High Command of the Vietnam Coast Guard Region 1 are determined to protect the sea, islands and continental shelf of Vietnam. Illustrative image. (Source: VNA)

Vietnam persistently advocates resolving East Sea disputes by peaceful means on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. In the process of searching for a basic solution.

In the process of finding a fundamental, long-term solution to the disputes in the East Sea, relevant parties need to exercise restraint, make efforts to maintain peace and stability, and not use force or threaten to use force, strictly comply with the United Nations Charter and the standards of international law, including the 5 principles of peaceful coexistence; Fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC-2002) and ASEAN's 6-point Principles on the East Sea issue (2012), and soon build a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

Vietnam resolutely protects its sovereignty, sovereign rights, jurisdiction and maritime interests; continues to promote marine economic development in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in accordance with the provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as well as in accordance with Vietnam's actual situation.

Vietnam's marine economic potential
Insiders suggest solutions for sustainable marine development
Marine biological diversity and impacts of climate change in Vietnam
Sinh Ton island, crashing the blue wave
Marine biological diversity in Viet Nam