Sunday, 23 October 2011

Territory - South China Sea
Law of the Sea - South China Sea

Following reports by WikiLeaks of Chinese protests against international oil firms signing exploration deals with Vietnam in the disputed South China Sea that went back to 2006, President Hu Jintao urged visiting Vietnamese leader Nguyen Phu Trong to avoid complicating territorial disputes by seeking foreign assistance in resolving rival claims. Later, China's Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun and his Vietnamese counterpart, Ho Xuan Son, signed a six-point agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of maritime issues existing between the two countries. The parties pledged to seek a basic and long-term solution "based on a legal regime and principles defined by international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea". The parties agreed to fully respect legal principles, take history and other relevant issues into consideration and accommodate each other's concerns in a constructive manner. In relation to other claimant states, the agreement said that Beijing and Hanoi should solve maritime disputes through
negotiations, but will "consult with other countries if they were also involved in the disputes". A practically significant point, the two sides agreed to hold discussions twice a year to resolve their differences, and to set up a hot line between the countries to address any disagreements more promptly.


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