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Vietnam not opposed to joint resource development in disputed waters

ROC Central News Agency

2013/01/10 22:25:47

Hanoi, Vietnam Jan. 10 (CNA) Vietnam is not against the idea of cooperating on exploring and developing resources in disputed waters, a spokesman for Vietnam's foreign ministry said Thursday.

Luong Thanh Nghi said Vietnam is not opposed to the idea of developing resources in disputed waters with neighboring countries but said such cooperation has to be carried out in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that was adopted in 1982.

But there is no room for cooperation in waters where Vietnam has sovereignty, he said.

Luong made the remarks in response to a CNA reporter's question about whether Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou's peace initiative, proposed in an attempt to avoid an escalation of tensions in the East China Sea, can be applied in sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea.

However, Luong said his country is strongly against Taiwan's plan to explore oil near the Taiwan-controlled Taiping Island, the largest island in the Spratly Island chain in the South China Sea, and he demanded that Taiwan cancel such a plan.

Vietnam on Jan. 1 enacted a new maritime law that claims Vietnam's sovereignty and jurisdiction over part of the Paracel and Spratly islands in the South China Sea. The move has drawn protests from Taiwan and China.

The island groups and their surrounding waters are said to be rich in natural resources and are claimed either entirely or in part by Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

Ma's peace initiative calls on all parties involved in territorial disputes to refrain from hostile actions, put aside their differences, not abandon dialogue, observe international laws and resolve the dispute through peaceful means.

All sides should also seek consensus on a code of conduct for the East China Sea issue and establish a mechanism for cooperation on exploring and developing resources in the region, Ma suggested.

(By Tony Fang and Jamie Wang)
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