Peace and stability in the South China Sea is in the interest of China and the 10-member Asean regional grouping, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has said.
“Peace, stability and maritime safety and security are the shared concerns and interests not only of Asean but the Asian region, as well as international community,” Dung said.
In a session with journalists from the Asia News Network (ANN), Dung also said there was a need to come up with a code of conduct on how to deal with the territorial disputes.
He stressed that the only way to do this is through “peaceful means” and “negotiations based on international news”.
“Asean and China must take responsibility to resolve the dispute issue in order to ensure peace and security as well as freedom of navigation. We must accelerate the negotiation process on the COC [code of conduct] in order to solve the dispute,” the prime minister said.
He noted that the grouping's stance on these issues was clearly manifested in Asean’s six-point principles on the East Sea, which required all parties to abide by international law, including the 1982 United Nation’s Convention on the Law of the Sea.
It also required the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and the creation of a code of conduct for the East Sea.
ANN is made up of 21 media groups in 19 countries.
Dung also discussed human rights and freedom of the press with the ANN journalists.
“Among the rights of the citizens, one of the most important is freedom of the press. In human rights, it’s freedom to live, freedom of speech and expression. If anyone loses any of this, they lose a very important right,” he said.
“Every country should respect freedom of the press but It must be implemented so that news is impartial, timely without any distortion of the truth and to the legitimate interest of the state and the people.”
The Vietnamese leader also talked about Vietnam’s economic growth, noting that it had set a target of 6.2 per cent gross-domestic-product growth next year and 6.5 per cent growth for between 2016-2020.
He added that the Asean Economic Community, to be implemented at the end of 2015, would “bring about potential and advantages for Vietnam’s development and the integration process, but there are challenges like sustainable development”.