This is an issue the UN clearly feels is important. It’s dedicating a whole week of discussion and debate on the topic.
Opening today’s event, Secretary General Ban Kimoon said the convention was “one of most significant and visionary agreements of the 21st century”.
However, Monday’s meeting was more about what was left unsaid. None of the leaders seemed willing to confront their individual disputes head on. For example, the Philippines said it was “a way to resolve disputes”. Japan said all parties should “refrain from using force or coercion”.
Japan and China still disagree about who owns the islands known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan. And the Philippines and Indonesia recently settled a 20-year maritime border dispute.
However, China did send a paper to the Secretary General on its drilling rig, entitled: “Vietnam’s Provocation and China’s Position.”
In which it says “In the face of Vietnam’s provocative actions on the sea, China has exercised great restraint”. In the last month, China says Vietnam has launched more than 14-hundred ramming raids on Chinese vessels in the region. Earlier this month, Vietnam showed TV footage of what it identified as a Chinese boat ramming a Vietnamese vessel, causing it to sink. CCTV’s Nick Harper reports.