Vietnam, US reiterate East Sea positions at 5th defense dialogue

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Vietnam and the US share the position that territorial disputes in the East Sea should be resolved by peaceful means without coercion or the use of force, officials said at the fifth annual Vietnam-US Political, Security, and Defense Dialogue in Hanoi on Wednesday.

The meeting was attended by Vietnam's Deputy Foreign Minister Le Luong Minh and Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew J. Shapiro.  

The talks reflect the continued cooperation between the US and Vietnam and build upon the success of the fourth Dialogue held in Washington, D.C. last year in June, the US Embassy said in a release.

Delegates from both sides discussed ongoing developments in the East Sea, and noted that the maintenance of peace, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation is in the common interest of the international community.

The US reaffirmed that it does not take a position on competing sovereignty claims over land features in the East Sea. 

The two sides also shared the position that territorial disputes in the East Sea should be resolved by peaceful means without coercion or the use of force and that territorial and accompanying maritime claims should comply with international law, including as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982.

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The two sides reaffirmed the importance of the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and their interest in continued progress toward a code of conduct that creates a rules-based framework for managing and regulating the conduct of parties in the East Sea, including managing disputes and preventing conflicts. 

Both sides also pledged to maintain cooperation on legacy issues, such as POW-MIA accounting and humanitarian demining, and to continue addressing dioxin and Agent Orange issues.

The 6th Dialogue will take place in Washington, D.C. in 2013.

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