TOKYO – Vietnam’s president on Tuesday warned against the use of force in territorial disputes as his nation and its neighbours lock horns with an increasingly assertive China over competing claims in the South China Sea.
President Truong Tan Sang made the comments in Japan’s parliament during a four-day visit. A joint press briefing with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled later Tuesday.
“Vietnam has always maintained these principles over maritime disputes — resolution by peaceful means, compliance with international law, and respect for each other’s due rights and sovereignty,” the Vietnamese leader said.
“Countries concerned should not make the situation complex, but rather exercise self-restraint. They should neither use force nor threaten to use force.”
Sang did not make a direct reference to any particular country. But Vietnam and three other members of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) — the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei — have opposed Beijing’s attempt to claim almost all of the South China Sea.