JEAIL > Volume 14(2); 2021 > Regional Focus & Controversies
Research Paper
Published online: Nov. 30, 2021

Unilateral Statement under International Law: A Vietnamese Position to the Legal Effect of the Diplomatic Note 1958

Tran Thang Long
Ho Chi Minh City University of Law
2-4 Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Owing to the lack of consensus in formal negotiations, unilateral statements do not create legal obligations on states. Thus, a unilateral statement is not considered a source of international law under Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice. In practice, however, these statements can be legally binding on the states making them and play an important role in the development of international law. The paper aims to examine the characteristics of unilateral declarations and statements in international law and address the Vietnam’s position over the legal effects of the Diplomatic Note 1958 with special references to the South China Sea dispute. This paper will analyze the characteristics and significance of unilateral statements in international law, and argue the conditions for legal binding force. Finally, this paper will provide an in-depth clarification on Vietnamese position on the legal effect of the Diplomatic Note 1958.

Keywords : Unilateral Statement, Diplomatic Note 1958, International Legal Obligations, Erga Omnes, Vietnam

View the Full Text