Vietnam’s policies on East Sea issues

The East Sea plays a vital role in Vietnam’s defence, security, and economy. The Vietnamese Party and State have issued important policies on East Sea issues, to protect the country’s independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity, maintain a peaceful environment, and ensure security, social order, and safety for national construction and defence.


Vietnam has a coastline of over 3,260 km, with the two archipelagos of Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) and more than 3,000 large and small islands. The full implementation of Party and State policies on East Sea issues plays a significant role in making full use of the country’s potential and in protecting regional peace and stability to contribute to national development.

A Party resolution dated October 22, 2018 on the strategy for the sustainable development of Vietnam’s marine economy by 2030 and vision to 2045 sets a target that sea-based industries are to contribute about 10 percent of GDP, while the economy of the 28 coastal cities and provinces are to make up 65-70 percent of the country’s GDP.

Vietnam has firmly protected its sovereignty in line with the Party and State’s stance on handling the East Sea issues in a peaceful manner and following international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).

It signed agreements delimitating maritime boundaries with Thailand in 1997 and China in 2000, and the 2003 Vietnam-Indonesia continental shelf boundary agreement.

Vietnam is accelerating negotiations with related countries to delimitate the country’s sea boundaries in overlapping areas in line with UNCLOS 1982, thus affirming and effectively implementing the country’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the East Sea.

To maintain peace and stability, ensure freedom of aviation and navigation in the region, and prevent unilateral actions that cause tension and complicate the situation, Vietnam and ASEAN countries signed the Declaration of the Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea (DOC) with China in 2002, and actively promote the full and effective implementation of its contents, thereby facilitating the settlement of disputes in the East Sea.

Specifically, Vietnam consistently affirms sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos, as indicated in the National Assembly’s 1994 resolution ratifying the UNCLOS 1982 and other legal documents.

The Party and State also pay heed to developing the marine economy, encouraging and creating the best conditions possible for people to improve their livelihood by utilizing sea resources, while protecting the lives, assets, and operations of fishermen in Vietnam’s waters.

Vietnam actively expands maritime cooperation with countries in and outside of the region on the basis of mutual respect, mutual benefit, and compliance with international law.

It has to date worked with countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, China, and the US to diversify cooperation in the fields of gas production, fisheries, search and rescue, scientific research, and marine environment protection.

These activities not only help Vietnam strengthen capacity in marine exploitation and management and improve knowledge and experience in marine fields, but also help countries better understand its viewpoint on the East Sea, thereby further strengthening friendly relations and creating a favourable environment for national development./.