India attended East Asia Summit: Ha Noi Declaration adopted

India was represented by the External Affairs minister S Jaishankar at the East Asia Summit. The summit adopted Ha Noi Declaration.

Key highlights

The minister expressed concerns over eroding trust in the South China sea region. He also highlighted the importance of adhering to international sea laws and respecting sovereignty and integrity. China claims sovereignty of all the South China Sea that holds huge hydrocarbon reserves. India has been promoting rules-based order in the region. This is mainly about adhering to the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the sea).

East Asia Summit

The Summit is held between 18 members including 10 ASEAN countries. The other eight are India, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, US and the Republic of Korea.

Ha Noi Declaration

  • It reaffirmed the following declarations of the East Asia Summit
    • 2005 Kuala Lumpur Declaration
    • 2010 Ha Noi Declaration
    • 2011 Bali Declation
    • 2015 Kuala Lumpur Declaration
  • The declaration emphasized ASEAN-centred regional architecture
  • The summit stressed on the need to further enable East Asia Summit as an effective platform.
  • It stressed upon the effective implementation of Manila Plan of Action to advance the Phnom Penh Declaration (2018-2022). It focuses on East Asia Development Initiative.

Significance of South China sea

  • Around one-third of the global trade passes through the South China Sea region. This is around 3 trillion USD.
  • According to the US Energy Information Administration, the region is believed to hold 11 billion barrels of oil.

Explorations of China

  • In 2014, China began oil drilling in the disputed waters of Vietnam (Vanguard Bank). However, according to Vietnam, Vanguard Bank lies within 200-miles of Excusive Economic Zone.
  • In 2017, China made a breakthrough for mining methane clathrates in the region.

Territorial Disputes in the Region

  • Natuna Islands are disputed between China, Indonesia and Taiwan.
  • China, Philippines and Taiwan fight over Scarborough Shoal.
  • China, Vietnam and Taiwan dispute over Spartly Islands
  • China, Vietnam and Taiwan fight over Paracel Islands
  • Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Vietnam fight over Gulf of Thailand.

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