“After seven rounds of talks, the parties reached preliminary consensus on some principles, including relying on international law to solve their disputes,” said Nguyen.

Particularly, she cited the UN Law of the Sea Convention of 1982 that, if respected, would tilt the balance to the Vietnamese demands. She said Hanoi and Beijing agreed to follow the Declaration of Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea and refrain from any action that would complicate the situation or encourage the use of force.

Nguyen said that issues related to Vietnam and China can only be solved bilaterally, and other issues can be solved only through dialogue with concerned parties.

The next round of negotiations has been scheduled for the end of this year, when a definition about an action plan, established by diplomatic channels, is expected, announced Nguyen.

Relations between China and Vietnam were marred in the last few months by mutual accusations of violating their respective sovereignties in the East Sea and of harassing fishermen and scientists.

*See Dossier: ASEAN: to promote stability and confidence in the Asiatic region*