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Tensions in the East Sea affect Asian trade

Publication Date : 05-06-2014


The Secretary General of the World Customs Organisation, Kunio Mikuriya, told Vietnamese media on Tuesday that the East Sea tension caused by the placement of a Chinese loil rig in Vietnam waters had affected cargo transportation through this area.

Speaking at the 23rd meeting of the Asean Directors General of Customs, Mikuriya said he hoped the incident would be settled peacefully so as to ensure navigational safety and promote free trade through the East Sea – one of the core shipping lines in the world.

The meeting, which was held in Da Lat City in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, drew nearly 70 officials from the 10 Asean countries, plus Japan, the South Korea, China, the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and some international institutions.

General Director of Vietnam Customs, Nguyen Ngoc Tuc, voiced out concern over China's placement of the oil rig, saying it was guarded by several military ships and aircraft.

He said China's move violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982), and jeopardised peace, stability, security and safety of navigation in the East Sea and free trade in Southeast Asia.

Tuc called on his counterparts to help solve the issue peacefully in accordance with international law.

The meeting reviewed Asean customs development plans from 2011 to 2015, and devised action plans and working programmes for the bloc's customs agencies from 2016 to 2020 period.

Asean has recorded some notable achievements on its way to building an Asean Economic Community in 2015.

It has built an Asean customs agreement, developed a legal framework for an Asean customs transit system, and established a one-door customs mechanism.

Asean Secretary General Le Luong Minh said that the meeting was an important step towards the Asean Community next year.

Vietnam hosted similar meetings in 1995 and 2004.


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