Actions aimed at unilaterally changing the status quo in disputed waters are threatening peace, security and stability in Asia Pacific, Vietnamese State President Truong Tan Sang said in New York on Monday.
The Vietnamese leader made the statement while attending the Policy Dialogue on Vietnam-U.S. relations hosted by the Asia Society.
The Asia-Pacific region is facing a range of serious challenges and risks in terms of peace, stability and sustainable development, President Sang said.
“The issue causing great concern to all of us is territorial sovereignty disputes,” he added.
Efforts to unilaterally alter the status quo in disputed waters in order to illegally claim sovereignty over them, through which many major international maritime routes run, have become existent risks to peace, security and stability, he said, adding that such actions go against international law.
“Such a context requires attention by, common responsibility of, and cooperation among all countries concerned, including Vietnam and the U.S., to maintain peace, security, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region and the world,” President Sang underlined.
Regarding the Vietnam-U.S. relationship, he is very delighted to see the two countries move beyond the past and their differences to become the comprehensive partners of each other today, the president said.
“This is the basic interest shared by the two nations,” he added.
The sharing of interests between Vietnam and the U.S. is reflected not only in securing peace, stability and prosperity in the region, but also in ensuring maritime and air security and safety, law enforcement at sea, marine environmental protection, and other issues, he said.
“The Vietnam-U.S. cooperation has become an indispensable element in the concerted efforts of the international community to maintain peace, security and development in the region,” the Vietnamese leader said.
In reply to Deputy Chairman of the Asia Society Tom Nagorski, who asked when Vietnam will open the Cam Ranh Port, located in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa, for foreign countries to set up their military bases, President Sang confirmed the Southeast Asian country has no policy to have a foreign military base in the port.
“By saying so I don’t mean that Vietnam will close down the port, but we still open it to vessels from all countries, including the U.S.,” the president explained.
“Vietnam will set up an international service center in Cam Ranh and be ready to receive commercial and naval ships from countries around the world.”
Foreign vessels can come there for repair, maintenance and other services, he added.
Regarding a question on U.S. President Barack Obama’s expected visit to Vietnam on the occasion of his attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in the Philippines in November this year, President Sang said President Obama has accepted the invitation to visit Vietnam.
The specific time for the visit will be decided by the U.S. side, the Vietnamese president said.
“Vietnam looks forward to President Obama’s visit as it will help create more effectiveness in the implementation of the Vietnam-U.S. Joint Vision Statement and the Joint Statement on the Vietnam-U.S. Comprehensive Partnership,” President Sang said.
“We are willing to welcome President Obama,” he asserted.