Gates Spotlights Maritime Security in Hanoi Forum

HANOI, Viet­nam, Oct. 12, 2010 — Dis­agree­ments over ter­ri­to­r­i­al claims and the appro­pri­ate use of the mar­itime domain pose a chal­lenge to sta­bil­i­ty and pros­per­i­ty in South­east Asia, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates told a group of region­al defense min­is­ters meet­ing here today.

Gates is one of eight defense lead­ers from non­mem­ber nations invit­ed to par­tic­i­pate in the first “plus” defense min­is­ters meet­ing of the Asso­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Nations. The 10-mem­ber asso­ci­a­tion includes Viet­nam, Thai­land, Sin­ga­pore, the Philip­pines, Myan­mar, Malaysia, Laos, Indone­sia, Cam­bo­dia and Brunei. 

In his remarks at the con­fer­ence, Gates urged a peace­ful res­o­lu­tion of ter­ri­to­r­i­al dis­putes that have beset the region, most notably in the South Chi­na Sea. 

“The Unit­ed States does not take sides on com­pet­ing ter­ri­to­r­i­al claims, such as those in the South Chi­na Sea,” Gates said. “Com­pet­ing claims should be set­tled peace­ful­ly, with­out force or coer­cion, through col­lab­o­ra­tive diplo­mat­ic process­es, and in keep­ing with cus­tom­ary inter­na­tion­al law.” 

The sec­re­tary applaud­ed ini­tial steps by nations with com­pet­ing claims in the South Chi­na Sea to dis­cuss devel­op­ment of a full and bind­ing code of con­duct on the mat­ter, and he said the Unit­ed States stands ready to help in facil­i­tat­ing such initiatives. 

“We have a nation­al inter­est in free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion, in unim­ped­ed eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment and com­merce, and in respect for inter­na­tion­al law,” he said. “We also believe that cus­tom­ary inter­na­tion­al law, as reflect­ed in the [Unit­ed Nations] Con­ven­tion on the Law of the Sea, pro­vides clear guid­ance on the appro­pri­ate use of the mar­itime domain, and rights of access to it. By adher­ing to this guid­ance, we can ensure that all share equal and open access to inter­na­tion­al waterways.” 

Gates not­ed that the Unit­ed States always has exer­cised its rights and sup­port­ed the rights of oth­ers to tran­sit through and oper­ate in inter­na­tion­al waters. “This will not change,” he said, “nor will our com­mit­ment to engage in exer­cis­es and activ­i­ties togeth­er with our allies and partners.” 

Those activ­i­ties, Gates said, are a rou­tine and crit­i­cal com­po­nent of demon­strat­ing the U.S. com­mit­ment to main­tain peace and sta­bil­i­ty and pro­mote free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion in the region. 

“They are also essen­tial to build­ing habits of strong secu­ri­ty coop­er­a­tion,” he said, “which is nec­es­sary as we move for­ward to address com­mon secu­ri­ty chal­lenges together.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →