Vietnam urges dialogue on sea row

March 19, 2014 - 11:00:17 am
TOKYO: Vietnam’s president yesterday warned against the use of force in territorial disputes as his nation and its neighbours lock horns with an increasingly assertive China over competing claims in the South China Sea.

President Truong Tan Sang made the comments in Japan’s parliament during a four-day visit. “Vietnam has always maintained these principles over maritime disputes -- resolution by peaceful means, compliance with international law, and respect for each other’s due rights and sovereignty,” the Vietnamese leader said.

“Countries concerned should not make the situation complex, but rather exercise self-restraint. They should neither use force nor threaten to use force.”

Sang did not make a direct reference to any particular country. 

But Vietnam and three other members of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) -- the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei -- have opposed Beijing’s attempt to claim almost all of the South China Sea.

Sang said he hoped to strengthen ties with Japan, which is also embroiled in a separate and bitter territorial dispute with China. Tokyo has called for stronger security ties with Asean members to try to ease the growing territorial tensions. 

At a joint press briefing yesterday evening, Sang and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe said they discussed regional peace, loans and grant aid to Vietnam as well as the possibility of Japan sending patrol boats to the country.

“The two countries’ cooperation in maintaining order in the sea and air is extremely important for regional peace and stability,” Abe told reporters.