POTENTIAL OF THE SEA OF VIET NAM

I. LOCATION AND ROLE OF THE SEA
Viet Nam has the advantages of a coastal state. The location of Viet Nam as exposed to the sea is particularly vital for Southeast Asia and the world. The sea has played a permanent role in the national thousand-year history because it has been closely associated with national defense and prosperity. Therefore, management and development of the benefits related to the sea and their protection are strategically important. In the present period of expanded foreign relations and international integration, the sea plays a more significant role in maintaining full state sovereignty, political stability and socio-economic development.
The East Sea is a large sea of the Pacific with an area arouna 3,448,000 km2 surrounded by ten countries and territories. It is one of the six largest seas of the world, affecting the life of some 300 million people of Southeast Asian countries and territories. The East Sea is a sea of strategic routes of world trade and transaction between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is also an international artery for military transportation.
Almost all states in the Asian-Pacific region carry out animated navigation activities on it. Of the ten present largest international sea routes, five cross the East Sea or are related to it.
Historical issues over the last 100 years, the promotion of international legislation on the sea, and in particular the geographical location of the East Sea have caused some contrary problems or debates between regional countries. All these problems are related to the sea and its continental shelf. Since the late 20th century, races for finding and exploiting oil and other strategic raw materials in the East Sea have made sea sovereignty become especially difficult and complicated.
Its geo-economic and political location is so vital that for a long time the East Sea has been an integrated part of the development strategies of the countries around the East Sea and the powerful naval states of the world.
Viet Nam is situated on the coast of the East Sea. The sea area of Viet Nam expands over 1,000,000 km2. The coast of Viet Nam is over 3,260 kilometers, running in the eastern, southern and southwestern directions. Therefore, the sea is closely associated with the socio-economic development, national defense, security and environmental protection of the whole country.
Navigation and airline arteries between the Indian and Pacific oceans cross much of the coastal seas of Viet Nam. Here also cross similar arteries between Europe and the Near East and China, Japan and other countries of the Southeast Asia region. The sea of Viet Nam bridges integration, cooperation and economic contacts between Viet Nam and countries of the world, particularly those of the Asian-Pacific region. The sea and coastline of Viet Nam are wide open towards the Pacific and the whole world as “a great door” and “a facade” of the country. Nearly all coastal urban towns and cities have quite better infrastructure than inland areas. Key coastal economic zones have diverse natural resources, some of which are very essential for economic development. Now large and focused investments have been put into these zones. In these zones are also available abundant workforce resources, convenient land roads, railways and waterways.
The coastal seas of Viet Nam actually are very favorable and attractive for domestic and international investment, foreign advanced technology and managerial experience. From them investments, technology and managerial experience can be introduced into inland areas of Viet Nam. It is true that for rapid economic development the coast has quite a few advantages over other areas of the country.
The seaports and land roads, railways and waterways that will be built and linked to the remote inland areas (especially linked to trans-Asian routes) will permit the transport of imports and exports from the sea and the coastal areas of Viet Nam to all other areas of Viet Nam. At the same time, they will attract goods from southwest China, Laos, northeast Thailand and Cambodia.
Countries in Southeast Asia now are actively starting the Program of the Mekong Sub-region Development. Viet Nam and China have cooperated to build and implement the Gulf of Tonkin Economic Belt program, considering this belt to be a new development pole within the ASEAN-China free trade zone.
The Sea Strategy Towards 2020 of Viet Nam states that Viet Nam must strive to become a sea-strong and sea-reaching state. Viet Nam must firmly protect its sea sovereignty, must contribute to keeping national stability and development, and closely combine socio-economic development with national defense and security and environmental protection. Attractive policies should be issued to draw on all resources for sea economy development. Large coastal economic centers must be built which are favorable for the development of the sea economy and they should be locomotives for the development of the whole country.

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