'Respect each other’s legitimate rights' at sea, Vietnamese president tells China

'Respect each other’s legitimate rights' at sea, Vietnamese president tells China

Newly elected President To Lam says relations with China ‘a strategic choice and priority’

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ISTANBUL (AA) – Vietnam’s newly elected President To Lam has urged China to respect “legitimate rights” of the Southeast Asian nation in the disputed South China Sea.

To Lam made the demand during a meeting with Chinese Ambassador Xiong Bo in Hanoi, an official statement said.

“Both sides need to strictly implement high-level agreements and common perceptions, better control and resolve disagreements at sea; respect each other’s legitimate rights and interests,” To told Xiong, regarding the disputed sea which Hanoi refers to as the East Sea.

To said the sides should “actively seek satisfactory solutions in accordance with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).

Hanoi and its northern neighbor - both Communist-ruled one-party states - have overlapping maritime claims in the vast mineral-rich sea.

Several other Southeast Asian nations have maritime disputes with China in the sea which have seen tensions escalate between Beijing and the Philippines in recent months.

Vietnam’s former Public Security Minister To was elected the country’s new president last month, replacing Vo Van Thuong, who had resigned for allegedly violating the Communist Party rules.

In Vietnam’s one-party political system, the president holds one of the top four positions.

“Vietnam regards the friendly relations and cooperation with China as a strategic choice and priority in its foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralization, and diversification,” To reassured the Chinese ambassador.​​​​​​​

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