As a coastal country with a coastline of over
3,260km with thousands of islands, including Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong
Sa (Spratly), Vietnam has many benefits associated with the sea. Recognizing
the importance of the sea, Vietnam actively participated in the negotiation
process to build the 1982 UNCLOS and has been making great efforts in
implementing the Convention.
Vietnam was one of 107 countries which signed UNCLOS
in Montego Bay, Jamaica, right after the document was open for signing, and
it was one of the countries ratifying the convention very early, before the
convention took effect. This demonstrates Vietnam's good will, respect and
expectation in a new legal order for the sea and the ocean.
On June 23, 1994, the National Assembly issued a
resolution on the ratification of UNCLOS, affirming Vietnam's sovereignty
over internal waters, territorial waters, sovereignty and jurisdiction over
the contiguous zone, Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf
on the basis of the provisions of the Convention, and the principles of
The resolution affirms Vietnam’s sovereignty over
the two archipelagos Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly), and it
advocates the settlement of disputes on territorial sovereignty as well as
other disagreements related to the East Sea issues through peaceful
negotiation, in the spirit of equality, mutual understanding and respect for
international laws, especially the 1982 UNCLOS.
As a member of the Convention, Vietnam is entitled
to have territorial waters of 12 nautical miles, an exclusive economic zone
of 200 nautical miles, and a continental shelf of at least 200 nautical
The area of waters and continental shelf in which
Vietnam can enjoy the rights for the sea and resources in accordance with
UNCLOS is approximately 1 million square kilometers, or 3 times the mainland
In order to implement the responsibility and show
the good will of a member country of UNCLOS, Vietnam has always respected
and implemented the obligations set by the Convention, gradually improving
the national legal system, applying provisions of the Convention in the
determination of maritime zones and delimitation of maritime boundaries with
neighbors as well as management and use of the sea.
This is considered an important step forward in
transferring the provisions of UNCLOS to the domestic legal system, and
facilitating the unified management of the sea and the development of
Vietnam's maritime economy.
Vietnam has made great efforts in effectively
applying UNCLOS to settle disputes related to maritime delimitation with
Vietnam signed with Thailand an agreement on
maritime delimitation on August 9, 1997; signed with China an agreement on
delimitation of the Tonkin Gulf and an agreement on the cooperation in
fishery in Tonkin Gulf on December 25, 2000; and signed with Indonesia an
agreement on the delimitation of the continental shelf on June 26, 2003.
With Vietnam’s great efforts, the content "based on
international law, the 1982 UNCLOS to find a basic long-term solution to
disputes in the South China Sea" is included in the Vietnam-China Agreement
on basic principles for settling maritime issues signed on November 10,
Based on the provisions of the Convention, Vietnam
has been effectively carrying out marine economic activities in the
exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of 200 nautical miles that
serves the country's development.
Vietnam also proactively promotes cooperation with
relevant parties in protecting the marine environment, rescuing at sea,
preventing natural disasters and implementing measures to prevent crimes at
sea, contributing to the full implementation of the provisions of the
On October 22, 2018, the Central Party Executive
Committee issued a resolution on the strategy for sustainable development of
Vietnam's marine economy to 2030, with a vision to 2045, showing the great
determination of the Party and the State to sustainably develop a sea-borne
economy, turning Vietnam into a strong marine nation.
Vietnam also actively participates in activities
within the framework of international mechanisms established under the
Convention. At the regional level, Vietnam has signed many joint agreements
within the framework of ASEAN cooperation related to maritime transport and
All of this is vivid evidence showing the Vietnamese
Government's good will, strong determination and practical commitment to
respect and enforce UNCLOS's provisions.
This also demonstrates Vietnam’s efforts and
consistent policy in cooperating in resolving disputes and disagreements at
sea with peaceful means, suitable to international laws, including UNCLOS,
in order to promote cooperation with other countries, and protect Vietnam's
legitimate rights and interests in the East Sea.