by H.E. PRIME MINISTER PHAM MINH CHINH
at the United Nations Security Council high-level open debate on
“ENHANCING MARITIME SECURITY:
A CASE FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION”
August 9, 2021
Good evening from Ha Noi. And thank you very much, Mr. President, for taking the initiative and convening the first-ever Security Council Open Debate on Enhancing Maritime Security.
Even when the world is devoting much resource to the fight against COVID-19, the topic of our discussion is of strategic and substantial importance.
Viet Nam especially commends and echoes India’s Five S Approach at the Security Council. Viet Nam is committed to working with India and other Council members in promoting dialogue, cooperation and mutual respect, for global peace and prosperity.
Let me also thank the briefers for your extensive and insightful presentations.
Oceans and seas provide an immense resource for mankind. They also serve as the lifeline of international trade and the gateway connecting countries and continents, and are critical to the development and prosperity of states and nations.
Recognizing the importance of oceans and seas, nations have created important cooperation mechanisms, both bilateral and multilateral, at regional and global levels. Most remarkably, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has truly become the Constitution of oceans and seas, the universal and unified legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out, and the basis for international cooperation to address common challenges in the world.
Nevertheless, at sea, we are faced with both traditional and non-traditional security challenges. Terrorism and criminal acts, especially organized crime, have been expanding in scope and complexity. Climate change, sea level rise and pollution of the marine environment, especially by plastic debris and degradation of the marine ecosystem, have caused serious and long-term consequences. Unilateral acts that violate international law, even threats or uses of force, have escalated tensions and affected peace, friendship, security, safety and freedom of navigation and trade, as well as efforts to address non-traditional security challenges.
Therefore, preserving and enhancing maritime security is in the common interest, and has become an urgent task and shared responsibility of the entire international community.
As a littoral state, Viet Nam comprehends profoundly the immense value of the sea as well as challenges to maritime security.
Viet Nam is implementing the Strategy for the sustainable development of the marine economy, which aims to utilize marine resources in a sustainable and responsible manner to contribute to the country’s overall development. The Strategy also aims to enhance Viet Nam’s law enforcement capacity, ensure effective settlement of maritime issues, and safeguard the sovereignty, sovereign rights, jurisdiction and other legitimate interests of Viet Nam over its maritime zones.
Viet Nam consistently pursues a foreign policy of peace, independence, self-reliance, multilateralization and diversification of international relations, as a trusted friend and partner, and a reliable member of the international community. Viet Nam stands ready to cooperate, exchange information and share experience with other countries in efforts to address maritime security issues and to contribute positively to the maintenance of a peaceful and secured maritime environment, and sustainable development in the region and the world.
In that connection, I would like to make the following proposals:
First, it is imperative that states and international organizations develop a comprehensive, extensive and broad awareness of the importance of oceans and seas, and the threats to maritime security. Such awareness shall form the basis for greater responsibility and political will to strengthen confidence and develop more cohesive and effective cooperation arrangements, in order to preserve and utilize oceans and seas in a sustainable manner, and safeguard a peaceful and stable maritime environment. Resources should be made available for the implementation of national strategies and regulations to meet this end.
Second, maritime security is a global issue and therefore requires global solutions. We need to take a comprehensive and holistic approach based on cooperation, dialogue and international law, and forge stronger cooperation through bilateral and multilateral channels and at regional, inter-regional and global levels to effectively address maritime security challenges.
Viet Nam proposes the development of a network of arrangements and initiatives for regional maritime security with the United Nations working as the coordinator, to bolster information and experience sharing, coordinate actions, and address common challenges in a timely manner.
Viet Nam values and actively takes part in initiatives and mechanisms in ASEAN and between ASEAN and its partners for practical cooperation in the South China Sea. They provide forums for dialogue and confidence building, and help coordinate maritime security cooperation efforts.
Viet Nam is determined to work with ASEAN and China to seriously, fully and effectively implement the 2002 Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and negotiate an effective and substantive Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (COC) consistent with international law, in particular UNCLOS 1982. In addition, Viet Nam calls upon all countries and multilateral institutions, especially UN agencies, to step up assistance and pay due attention to the hardships and interests of developing countries.
Third, the policies, regulations and conducts of states at sea must be in line with international law, especially the United Nations Charter and UNCLOS 1982.
States shall uphold fully their legal obligations under the Convention, respect the sovereignty, interests and legitimate economic activities of relevant states, settle disputes through peaceful means in line with international law, respect diplomatic and legal processes, and ensure freedom, safety and security of navigation and overflight, without resorting to acts that would complicate the situation or create tension.
It is my strong belief and fervent hope that the Security Council will uphold its primary role and responsibility in maintaining international peace and security, and continue to make important and concrete contributions to enhancing maritime security.
Viet Nam stands ready to make greater contributions to promoting dialogue and building confidence, and join the international community to maintain security at sea and to realize the ocean’s enormous potential, for a future of peace and prosperity for all as peace, cooperation and development is the irreversible course of our world today.
Thank you very much.