Monday, March 19 2018


FM asks region's forums to lift their game

Update: July, 13/2012 - 10:09


Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh with other foreign ministers in Phnom Penh yesterday. — AFP Photo
PHNOM PENH — Both the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) needed to make further contributions to the region's common goals, said Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh yesterday.

Minh made the remarks at the 2nd East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting and the 19th ASEAN Regional Forum held in Phnom Penh yesterday.

Both the summit and forum needed to be active in contributing to building and sharing standards in relations between nations in order to make practical contributions to the common goals of peace, stability, security and co-operation in the region, Minh said.

The summit and forum should co-ordinate and supplement other regional co-operation frameworks such as ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3 and the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting+, Minh said.

He affirmed the summit continued to be a forum of leaders having dialogues and direct co-operation on important strategic issues, including politics, security and development, for the common interest of regional countries on the basis of goals, principles and capacity of the summit.

As an important element in the regional architecture, the summit needed to make more contributions to the above common goals, he said.

On the other hand, the summit should continue to promote the five existing joint priorities and push up other important co-operation areas, such as connectivity and linkages, including the establishment of a free trade area in East Asia, and the fight against natural disaster, terrorism and transnational crime.

Minh also stressed that the ASEAN Regional Forum needed to continue to promote its role as a leading regional forum on politics and security.

At the meeting, Minh shared an assessment of situations in East Asia, Myanmar, the Korean peninsula and the Middle East-North Africa area.

Regarding the East Sea, at both meetings Minh expressed his concern over recent complications in the East Sea, with violations to the sovereign right and the jurisdictional right over the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of coastal nations.

He emphasised that countries must respect principles of international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, including regulations in respect of the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of coastal nations, without the use of force, and settlement of disputes through peaceful means.

He also urged that the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) be completed soon and that the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) be fully implemented.

At the EAS, which wraps up today, foreign ministers will discuss how to enhance co-operation and other various regional and international issues of mutual concern.

The event was chaired by Cambodia's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong who said that since its inception in Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia, in December 2005, the EAS had made much progress in five priority areas – energy, education, finance, disaster management and epidemics.

At the 19th regional security meeting yesterday, ASEAN foreign ministers and their dialogue partners emphasised the need to work closely to deal with regional challenges in the economy, security, natural disasters and climate change.

The foreign ministers and representatives from 27 countries, plus ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan, focused on common areas of interest and concern, including the situations in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Syria and the East Sea.

While the meeting said it appreciated recent developments in Myanmar, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the US had eased sanctions against the country and to allow its investors to do business there.

The forum agreed to create favourable conditions for North Korea to resume six-party negotiations on nuclear proliferation with hopes the Korean Peninsula be nuclear-free.

The ARF is the only regional security dialogue forum attended by the North Korean foreign minister and includes all member states of the six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear programmes - North and South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.

In terms of the East Sea, many representatives highlighted the need for all countries to resolve disputes with peaceful measures, follow the DOC, and quickly complete the COC to maintain peace and security in the waters.

The participants also agreed the forum needed to implement the Ha Noi Plan of Action to address non-traditional security challenges, such as natural disasters, terrorism, climate change, maritime security and safety. — VNA/Kyodo

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