• Vietnam’s president calls for peace, stability

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    HANOI: Vietnam’s president has said his country hopes that Japan and other nations will make efforts to help maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.

    “We propose countries in the world, including Japan, continue to make practical and constructive contributions to maintaining peace, stability,” Tran Dai Quang said, answering questions in writing over territorial disputes in the region posed by Kyodo News and other media organizations.

    Quang, who took office in April, said conflicts in the contested waters are not the exclusive concern of those countries that claim territory there, but nations across the world.

    “Activities that caused destabilization, altered the status quo, violated international laws… have undermined the confidence and increased tensions,” according to him.

    He said “many countries in the region and the international community [that]feel insecure have repeatedly raised voices expressing deep concerns.”

    Quang did not name any particular parties in the South China Sea {West Philippine Sea] conflicts, although Vietnam’s claims to territory in the region are actively contested by China, which has embarked on a large-scale land reclamation and building program on a number of islands and reefs in the sea.

    As well as Vietnam, China’s claims conflict with those made by Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam.

    Beijing is currently involved in an arbitration hearing in The Hague, which was instigated by the Philippines over land in the Spratly chain in the South China Sea.

    While claiming that Vietnam has “full legal and historical bases to assert sovereignty” over the Paracel and Spratly island chains in the sea, Quang demanded that countries in the world “respect international laws in the South China Sea region.”

    “We pledge to do our best together with countries in maintaining this common target,” he said.

    Japan is not a claimant in the South China Sea dispute, and has repeatedly been advised by China to refrain from becoming involved in the conflict.

    The United States’ actions to ensure freedom of navigation and overflight in the region have also provoked stern responses from Beijing.

    Writing about Vietnam-Japan relations, Quang expressed hope for further cooperation in a range of fields, calling Japan “one of the most important, leading, long-term partners.”

    He said he hopes that Japan will continue to grant official development assistance to Vietnam, “especially in the fields of high technology, supporting industry, infrastructure development.”

    Quang also called for cooperation in education, training, environment protection and disaster prevention.

    According to statistics from Japan’s Foreign Ministry, 2.4 trillion yen (USD21.7 billion) was provided to Vietnam in the form of loan aid between 2010 and 2014, while 143.7 billion yen was given as grant aid in the same period, with 2011 seeing the highest disbursement figures for both loans and grants.

    PNA/KYODO

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