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Official Gazette

Sunday, June 4, 2023


Updated: 11:46’ - 02/12/2004

By LLD Nguyen Hong Thao        
         LLB Hoang Hai Oanh

On November 16, 2004, the international community celebrated the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Convention on the Law on the Sea (the 1982 Convention), which had undergone a long process of preparation, negotiation and passage of its documents, lasting for 10 years from 1973 to 1982. Being the most universally recognized convention, it has received attention from not only coastal states but also landlocked states. On December 10, 1982, the Convention was opened for signing by 119 states in Montego Bay, Jamaica and, by November 2004, it had been ratified by 145 states and the European Union. It not only contains articles of a normal convention but also codifies many customary regulations. With 320 articles, 17 parts, 9 annexes, and over 1,000 legal norms, the 1982 Convention is truly a marine constitution of the international community, constituting one of the most significant achievements in international law of the 20th century. For the first time in history, the 1982 Convention provides an overall legal framework governing all the seas and oceans and their uses: the legal regimes for all the seas under national sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction; the High Seas and the Area of the Common Heritage of mankind; maritime navigation and aviation regulations; use and management of marine resources, living and non-living; protection of the marine environment, marine scientific research; marine security and order; and international marine cooperation. The 1982 Convention has established a new legal order for the seas, which is relatively equitable and universally recognized.

Being a coastal state signing the 1982 Convention very early, Vietnam always supports, and takes the lead in the region in, the application of the 1982 Convention to settling related marine issues. The process of formulation and implementation of the marine legislation in Vietnam has always accorded with the spirit of the 1982 Convention in order to more efficiently exploit the strengths of the sea for national development and defense. The 1982 Convention has brought about both opportunities and challenges to the country.

1. Application of the 1982 Convention before its entry into force

Due to its historical conditions, before 1977, Vietnam had not fully participated in the process of formulating international law on the sea. However, this did not prevent Vietnam from quickly catching up with this process, assimilating and creatively adopting the contents of the third Conference on the Law of the Sea and the 1982 Convention to the expansion and protection of its marine interests.

With the historic May 12, 1977 Declaration, Vietnam took the lead in the region in establishing a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles. The Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam clearly stated the principles for delimiting its territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam in accordance with the provisions of the 1982 Convention. Together with the 1977 Declaration, the Vietnamese Government’s November 12, 1982 Declaration on the baseline used for measurement of the breadth of Vietnam’s territorial sea created a basic legal foundation for the building of Vietnam’s system of marine legislation. The 1982 Declaration on the baseline, though having a number of points in need of revision to comply with the Convention, has played an important role in expanding Vietnam’s sovereignty and jurisdiction over its seas, breaking the blockade by some external forces, contributing to firmly maintaining the country’s independence and autonomy.

Since 1989 after it initiated the open-door policy, Vietnam has endeavored to build up a comprehensive system of marine legislation in line with the spirit of the 1982 Convention, such as the 1989 Ordinance on Protection and Development of Aquatic Resources, the 1990 Maritime Code, the 1993 Petroleum Law… These instruments have contributed to creating a stable legal order, regulating Vietnam’s marine activities. In this period, the contents of the 1982 Convention were also used as a reference for Vietnam to make its decisions on the accession to a series of international marine agreements.

2. Ratification of the 1982 Convention

The 1982 Convention is basically a progressive convention but it is also a global compromise which takes into account the interests of all different types of states in the world. Under the Convention, no reservations shall be accepted but a package deal is required. Having once ratified the 1982 Convention, a state shall be bound to strictly implement all of its articles. All states should thoroughly consider all rights and obligations as well as advantages and disadvantages resulting from the ratification of the 1982 Convention.

For Vietnam, the ratification of the 1982 Convention was decided on the basis of careful consideration of long-term national interests related to its sovereignty, peace and development, the protection and making full use of basic rights and interests brought about by the 1982 Convention to a developing coastal state, overcoming and minimization of any possible disadvantages:

The ratification of the 1982 Convention has created a condition for officializing the international legal grounds for the delineation of the seas and continental shelf of Vietnam. Following the historic May 12, 1977 Declaration on Vietnam’s seas, the system of marine legislation concerning Vietnam’s rights and interests as well as activities and struggles of the Vietnamese State in every sea-related aspect all took the 1982 Convention as the basis. However, these were just unilateral statements and domestic legal instruments. With its accession to the 1982 Convention, Vietnam has full right to a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles, an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles, a continental shelf of at least 200 nautical miles, which is expandable to 350 nautical miles measured from the baseline or to 100 nautical miles measured from the isobar of 2,500 meters in depth, as recognized worldwide. This is a fundamental change in the country’s geographical territory, being of an important significance to national sovereignty and marine economy development, and conforming to Vietnam’s marine policies and strategies. Under the 1982 Convention, the area of the natural resources-abundant seas and continental shelf which Vietnam is entitled to is three times larger than its mainland area. The Convention has served as a firm international legal basis for the struggle to protect Vietnam’s seas and continental shelf as well as legitimate rights and interests on the sea, and to protect our sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes. It has also served as a common legal basis for the settlement of disputes over the maritime delimitation between Vietnam and its neighborly countries, contributing to creating an environment for stability, peace, cooperation and development in the East Sea.

Vietnam’s accession to the 1982 Convention has won the sympathy and support of the international community for its struggle to safeguard its sovereignty and legitimate interests on the sea, creating favorable conditions for the expansion of international cooperation in order to protect and exploit the sea for the interests of Vietnam and the entire international community.

The 1982 Convention has also served as a basis for Vietnam to review and complete laws and regulations necessary for protecting the legal order for, natural resources and the environment in Vietnam’s seas and continental shelf, to request other states to respect its laws and legitimate interests, and enhance international cooperation in the use and exploitation of the sea and the protection of the marine environment in Vietnam.

The 1982 Convention has also permitted Vietnam to extend its interests in the exploration and exploitation of the seabed, the Area of Common Heritage of mankind, and other free activities in the High Seas.

On June 23, 1994, at its 5th session, the IXth National Assembly of Vietnam passed the Resolution on the Ratification of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Resolution reflected the determination of Vietnam, together with the international community, to build a just and equitable legal order for the seas, encouraging marine development and cooperation.

The Ratification Resolution has confirmed the sovereignty of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam over its internal waters and the territorial sea, its sovereignty rights and jurisdiction over the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf on the basis of the provisions of the 1982 Convention and the international law principles. The National Assembly reaffirmed Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes and advocated to settle territorial disputes as well as other differences concerning the East Sea through peaceful negotiations in the spirit of equality, mutual understanding and respect for international laws, especially the 1982 Convention, and respect for the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of littoral countries over the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf; while making efforts to accelerate negotiations to fundamental and permanent solutions, the parties concerned should maintain stability on the basis of status quo, refrain from any act that may further complicate the situation and refrain from the use of force or threat to use force. It is necessary to distinguish the settlement of disputes over Truong Sa and Hoang Sa archipelagoes from the protection of the seas and continental shelf under Vietnam’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction based on the 1982 Convention principles and norms.

The National Assembly also assigned its Standing Committee and the Government to study and revise the relevant provisions of domestic laws to comply with the 1982 Convention, while ensuring Vietnam’s interests.

3. Implementation of the 1982 Convention

The 1982 Convention governs all fields of marine activities. Ten years’ time is neither a long period nor a short period for implementation of the Convention. In this period, Vietnam has made great efforts and also recorded important achievements in the implementation of the 1982 Convention.

3.1. Settlement of marine issues

The 1982 Convention has allowed coastal states to expand their seas. At the same time, it has turned many countries sharing no common borderlines into marine neighbors sharing the maritime boundaries which need to be delimited. In this context, Vietnam has marine boundaries to be delimited with many regional countries, such as China (in the Tonkin Gulf), Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia (in the Gulf of Thailand) and Indonesia, has sovereignty disputes over Hoang Sa archipelago (with China), over Truong Sa archipelago (with China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei), and was concerned with maritime delimitation in the East Sea, a sea which is covered mostly by the seas and continental shelves under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the related coastal states.

Being a peace-loving country, Vietnam advocates to settle marine disputes through direct and goodwill negotiations on the basis of respect for the legitimate rights and interests of the involved parties in order to reach an agreement on an equitable and reasonable solution accepted by all the parties. This view of Vietnam entirely accords with Article 33 of the United Nations Charter, Articles 15, 74 and 83 of the 1982 Convention, and international law and realities.

In Southeast Asia, Vietnam has taken the lead in the settlement of maritime delimitation issues in accordance with the 1982 Convention. It has signed the Agreement on Maritime Delimitation with Thailand on August 9, 1997, the Agreement on the Delimitation of Bac Bo (Tonkin) Gulf and the Agreement on Fishery Cooperation in Bac Bo Gulf with China on December 25, 2000, and the Agreement on the delineation of the continental shelves with Indonesia on June 26, 2003. The practice of maritime delimitation by Vietnam has contributed to diversifying international law on maritime delimitation. The results of negotiations on the maritime delimitation between Vietnam and Thailand as well as China have attested to an irrefutable trend of using an adjusted median line, taking into account the relevant circumstances of the to be-delineated area, for arriving at a just and equitable solution and to the trend of using a single line for the delineation of the exclusive economic zones and continental shelves. The Agreements on delineation between Vietnam and its neighborly countries have made great contributions to perfecting theories on the effect of islands, the shape of coastline, the closing line of a gulf, border rivers’ outlets and other factors influencing the delineation.

Vietnam has, however, not stuck to a rigid view. In negotiations to reach a final delineation solution, if deeming it necessary and on the basis of agreement, Vietnam and its counterpart countries may select the application of provisional arrangements in the spirit of Articles 74 and 83 of the 1982 Convention. Vietnam has had historical waters under joint management with Cambodia since 1982, has reached in 1992 an agreement with Malaysia on the joint petroleum exploitations in the overlapping area; has accelerated negotiations on the cooperation on joint petroleum exploitations in the overlapping areas of Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia (negotiations started in 1998). The form of joint exploitation has been also applied to delineated sea areas such as the Common Fishery Zone, the Transitory Fishery Zone with China in Bac Bo Gulf (effective from June 30, 2004). With its practice and experiences, Vietnam is a country which has the most joint exploitation agreements in the world (4 out of 20 agreements).

Regarding disputes in the East Sea, Vietnam has taken initiative in seeking every opportunity for peaceful settlement in both bilateral and multilateral relations. A forum has been created for marine negotiations with China since 1993. In November 1995, Vietnam signed with the Philippines a document on 8-principle code of conduct in the East Sea. Clause 7.16 of the Hanoi Declaration of the 6th ASEAN Summit (1998) proposed the ASEAN member countries to vigorously step up efforts in formulating a Code of Conduct in the East Sea among the parties concerned. Vietnam and the Philippines have drafted the ASEAN Code of Conduct and have made great contributions to promoting ASEAN and China to iron out their differences to reach the first political document on the Code of Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the East Sea on December 4, 2002. DOC is also the first legal document, opening the way for activities of marine cooperation among the related parties in less sensitive fields in order to build confidence and trust.

3.2. Organization and guaranty of enforcement of marine legislation

At present, Vietnam’s sea has extended to the outer limit of its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf on the East Sea, covering an area of about one million square kilometers. Activities of people and means on the sea have constantly increased and become more complicated. The rights and interests of the states on the sea are diversified and important, leading to fiercer and fiercer disputes over sovereignty and interests on the sea. This situation has posed an inevitable requirement to enhance the State management in order to protect Vietnam’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction as well as other legitimate rights and interests on the sea, to use and exploit the sea for economic development and national defense, to preserve peace and stability, promote international cooperation for the sake of peace and development.

The expansion of sea areas under national jurisdiction has given rise to new challenges to national security and defense, posing the demand to reorganize forces to meet the new marine management requirements. Apart from the Border Guard (organized under the March 28, 1997 Ordinance on the Border Guard), which is tasked to manage and protect sovereignty, security and order in the sea and on islands from the national marine border (the outer limit of the territorial sea) shoreward to the administrative boundaries of the border coastal regions, Vietnam is the first country in the region to create the Coast Guard. This force has the function of patrolling areas from the baseline outwards (the March 28, 1998 Ordinance on the Coast Guard and the Government’s Decree No. 53/1998/ND-CP of July 21, 1998 on organization and operation of the Coast Guard). Vietnam has also actively cooperated with other countries in reducing violations at sea. Since 1997, the navies of Vietnam and Thailand have conducted eight joint patrols, established a hotline informing each other of violations for joint suppression. Vietnam has also similar plans of cooperation with China and the Philippines.

Marine search and salvage is an important requirement of the 1982 Convention for coastal states. Vietnam’s National Committee for Search and Salvage was set up under the Prime Minister’s Decision No. 780/TTg of October 23, 1996. It is responsible for directing and organizing the search and salvage of people and means (aircraft, vessels, petroleum facilities) in distress in the air, on the sea and adjacent areas between Vietnam and other countries. Vietnam has also intensified cooperation with other countries on combating criminal offenses on the sea, especially piracy.

3.3. Improvement of legal documents.

In the transport field, Vietnam has quickly built a legal environment and applied effective measures for exercising the rights and fulfilling the obligations of a coastal state, a port state and a flag state, in accordance with the provisions of the 1982 Convention. The strategy on development of Vietnam’s maritime sector from now till 2010 and 2020 serves as a basis for Vietnam to attain these goals. According to the master plan on Vietnam’s seaport system (issued together with the Prime Minister’s Decision No. 202/1999/QD-TTg of October 12, 1999), by 2020 Vietnam will have 114 seaports, compared to 90 at present. Vietnam’s fleet will have more big ships which have technical specifications complying with the provisions of the 1982 Convention and the IMO marine conventions. The 1990 Maritime Code will be revised to better Vietnam’s maritime legislation. Other laws related to maritime activities have been step by step improved, such as the Civil Code, the Civil Procedure Code and ship arrest procedure legislation.

With the duties of a flag state, Vietnam has promulgated numerous regulations concerning ships flying its flag, such as the Regulation on registration of seagoing ships and crew, issued together with the Government’s Decree No. 91/CP of August 23, 1997, Circular No. 259/1998/TT-BGTVT of August 18, 1998 of the Transport Ministry guiding the implementation of Decree No. 91/CP, the Government’s Decree No. 23/2001/ND-CP revising a number of articles of Decree No. 91/CP; Regulations on systems for prevention of marine pollution by ships (TCVN 6276:1997) and Regulation on safety of seagoing ships (TCVN 6278:1997), issued together with Decision No. 902/QD-TDC of November 7, 1997 of the Science, Technology and Environment Ministry (now the Science and Technology Ministry)… Technical safety certificate for ships, crewman’s certificate, pollution prevention and control certificate have been prescribed and granted in accordance with Vietnam’s laws and international maritime conventions. Vietnam’s fleets have fully satisfied not only the conditions for operation in Vietnam’s sea but also the conditions for entry, exit and operation in seaports and sea areas of other countries as well as in the high seas.

The systems of lighthouses and navigational signals, navigational notices and navigational piloting services for ships operating in, entering and leaving seaports and seas areas or passing through Vietnam’s sea have been strengthened, with 72 lighthouses situated from the North to the South, in the East Sea to Truong Sa, 29 navigational channels and 29 systems of navigational signals along the channels. Vietnam has participated in the International Convention of the International Maritime Satellite Organization (INMARSAT) and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). It has established a system of 14 coastal communication stations serving the communication between ships and between ships and the coast. This system has been connected to the international maritime communication system, assisting vessels operating on the sea in receiving and sending information in all cases, especially information on salvage. The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) has been implemented with the setting up of the Vietnam Maritime Rescue Coordinating Center (VMRCC). Ship control has been conducted at seaports according to the regional Memoranda of Understanding on Port State Control (MoU on PSC). Heavier penalties have been meted out for violations of maritime safety and marine pollution prevention. Apart from the 1993 Law on Environmental Protection and the 2002 Ordinance on Handling of Administrative Violations, Vietnam has promulgated Decree No. 92/1999/ND-CP of September 4, 1999 on sanctions against administrative violations in the maritime domain.

Vietnam has participated in nine IMO conventions (not to mention the Convention on IMO), including:

- The 1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and the 1978 Supplementary Protocol (MARPOL 73/78);

- The International Convention on Tonnage of Ships (Tonnage 69);

- The Convention on International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (Colreg 72);

- The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS 74);

- The International Convention on Load Lines (Load Line 66);

- The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW 78/95);

- The International Convention on the International Maritime Satellite Organization and the Operating Agreement on the International Maritime Satellite Organization (INMARSAT and OA);

- The International Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA 88) and the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located in the Continental Shelf;

- The International Convention on the Limitation of Civil Liability of Ship Owners for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC 1992).

Vietnam has signed many joint agreements among the ASEAN member countries concerning ocean shipping and maritime services such as the 1975 Agreement on the Facilitation of Search of Ships in Distress and Rescue of Survivors of Ship Accidents, the 1998 ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Goods in Transit, the ASEAN Framework Agreement in the Facilitation of Inter-State Transport.

Vietnam has participated in 17 maritime commerce agreements with Thailand (1979), Hungary (1979), Cuba (1983), Indonesia (1991), the Philippines (1992), China (1992), Malaysia (1992), Singapore (1992), Ukraine (1992), the Russian Federation (1993), the Federal Republic of Germany (1993), Rumania (1994), the Republic of Korea (1995), Poland (1995), France (2000), the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (2002) and the Islamic Republic of Iran (2002).

It can be said that over the past years Vietnam has made tireless efforts in implementing the 1982 Convention and international marine agreements which it has acceded to.

In the fisheries sector, for the manage-ment of its aquatic resources, Vietnam has constantly improved its legal system. The Ordinance on Protection and Development of Aquatic Resources, adopted by the National Assembly Standing Committee on April 25, 1989, was the first document on marine management after Vietnam embarked on the renewal process. The Ordinance was then replaced by the Fisheries Law, which took effect from July 1, 2004. The Fisheries Law, as well as sub-law documents currently in effect, have demonstrated Vietnam’s sovereignty and sovereign rights over, as well as its obligations, in the capacity as a coastal state, towards, the exploration, exploitation, conservation and management of marine living resources. Vietnam has also promoted cooperation with other countries and international organizations on formulating fishery legislation.

The petroleum exploration and exploitation have not only boosted Vietnam’s economic growth but also affirmed its sovereignty and sovereign rights in the continental shelf in accordance with the provisions of the 1982 Convention. All petroleum exploration and exploitation activities conducted in Vietnam’s continental shelf must be subject to approval by Vietnam, a coastal state. In 1989-1990, PetroVietnam made public a map on petroleum exploration and exploitation blocks in Vietnam’s continental shelf. Since then, over 30 petroleum exploration and exploitation contracts have been signed and performed in 34 blocks. With the 1993 Petroleum Law, the 2000 Law Amending and Supplementing a Number of Articles of the Petroleum Law and Decree No. 84/CP of December 17, 1996 guiding the implementation of the Petroleum Law, Vietnam has implemented policies to attract investment, offering numerous preferences to foreign petroleum firms, especially for off-shore areas with difficult exploration and exploitation conditions. Vietnam’s petroleum exploration and exploitation activities have been carried out on the basis of mutual benefit, respect for sovereignty and sovereign rights over natural resources in Vietnam’s continental shelf.

Protection of marine environment is a major concern of the Party and State of Vietnam. Protection of marine natural resources and environment has been incorporated in general legal instruments on environment as well as in regulatory documents governing marine management in various fields, such as maritime shipping, fisheries, petroleum, industry, aquaculture, and marine inspection and control. On December 27, 1993, the National Assembly passed the Law on Environmental Protection. Under this law and its guiding Decree No. 175/CP of October 18, 1994, environmental protection has been regarded as a common objective and responsibility of the entire people. These documents have created a favorable environment for extensive and intensive environmental protection, including protection of the marine environment. The system of environmental standards has been publicized, serving as a legal basis for determining the responsibilities and duties of all subjects involved in the environmental protection.


Being a coastal state, with a long coastline and many islands, lying along the East Sea, a sea of an important strategic geographic position, Vietnam boasts a considerable marine status. The provisions of the 1982 Convention have enabled the country to expand its seas and enjoy numerous advantages in protecting its national security and developing its marine economy. Vietnam’s strategy on advancing seawards, incorporated in many resolutions of the Party and declarations of the Government, and its marine activities are absolutely right, in tune with the general trend of international law in general and the 1982 Convention in particular.

However, over the past tens years’ implementing the 1982 Convention, there remain some constraints Vietnam has to deal with.

Vietnam actually still lacks a sound marine policy, with short-term and long-term objectives, specific plans and solutions, embodied in a strategic document. In the coming time, Vietnam should formulate soon a comprehensive marine strategy, an exhaustive planning for various seas as well as marine activities and forces in order to ensure a sustainable, efficient development. The development of socio-economic policies for coastal areas, covering from the building of fishing wharves, development of fishing trades and promotion of fishery cooperation to the migration of people to islands in combination with the development of island economy will exert practical impacts, creating necessary material bases for the implementation of the 1982 Convention.

The incorporation of the provisions of the 1982 Convention into domestic laws has been a hotly debated issue: should the Convention be transformed into domestic law or should it be directly applied; should it be transformed into specialized legal documents or into a single document? Since the 1982 Convention is a framework legal document, specific provisions should be made in domestic laws if it is to be well implemented. In our opinion, the following tasks should be well performed: To review and revise the existing marine regulations to make them comply with the provisions of the 1982 Convention and to formulate a code on Vietnam’s seas, which will create a uniform legal framework for Vietnam’s marine activities. Importance should be attached to organizing the State management over the sea. At present, Vietnamese marine control forces are relatively scattered, lack concentrated investment. Their functions are overlapped and performed ineffectively. Whether to build a unified force or to study on a rational assignment of tasks and responsibilities among the existing forces? Should it be necessary to continue the specialized management by different branches or to build a separate ministry in charge of marine issues? Or should localities be assigned more powers? These questions have no answers yet.

To ensure maritime safety, search and salvage, pollution prevention, apart from building search and salvage fleets and forces and necessary material foundations, Vietnam needs to study and establish soon safe navigational corridors, make electronic navigational maps, develop monitoring systems and apply measures to manage the right to innocent passage by foreign ships (especially warships and special ships), strengthen the natural resource and marine environment management system in the direction of integrated management.

In order to well manage natural living resources and create conditions for international cooperation on fishery, Vietnam should invest in and conduct as soon as possible surveys to figure out the catchable reserves, catch capability, species and fishing grounds, and plan conservation zones, no-fishing areas and seasons, and areas for aquaculture. It should adopt soon a policy on fishery development and cooperation in Bac Bo Gulf and the East Sea in conformity with the 1982 Convention. The implementation of the Law on Fisheries requires a forecast policy and a rapid improvement of sub-law documents.

In the petroleum field, Vietnam should expand its activities to off-shore areas, thereby confirming its sovereignty in the disputed sea areas. New investment attraction policies should be adopted to call for capital and support of foreign contractors. Besides, Vietnam should pay more attention to the dismantlement and clearance of expired oil and gas facilities. This will pose a big problem to Vietnam’s petroleum sector when a number of operating wells will stop commercial exploitation in the coming time. The management and prevention of marine pollution from pipeline systems and other facilities and equipment on the sea also requires greater attention.

Vietnam should take further steps as appropriate in widely popularizing the 1982 Convention and its marine rules and regula-tions, work out a strategy for its participation in the conventions and international conferences on the sea. Attention should be paid to the expansion of interests Vietnam has enjoyed under the 1982 Convention to the High Seas and the Common Heritage Area, to the formulation of a strategy on its participation in the exploration and exploitation of the seabed, participating in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in order to heighten Vietnam’s position on the international arena.

Vietnam should also make efforts to cooperate on conducting marine scientific research and surveys to make navigational maps in service of the marine delimitation, planning and management.

The force building and raising of the dispute-adjudicating and - resolving capabilities for the Vietnamese judicial bodies to meet the increasing requirements of marine activities are also new challenges to Vietnam.

The implementation of the 1982 Convention is also closely associated with the accession to international maritime agreements compliant with the 1982 Convention. There should be a plan as well as a roadmap for such accession. Vietnam should participate in the Agreement on the change of Part XI of the 1982 Convention and in the 1995 Convention on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, which have been regarded as direct developments of the 1982 Convention. It should also continue to participate in specialized conventions on maritime shipping, fisheries, petroleum, search and salvage… in order to best ensure its interests on the sea, facilitate marine activities and expand international cooperation.

Ten years is just an initial period in the process of implementation of the 1982 Convention. For the immediate future, Vietnam will have a lot of work to do so that it can soar up like a dragon from the East Sea.-


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