Bandar Seri Begawan — ASEAN Foreign Ministers reached a high consensus in meetings held in Brunei on the region's viewpoint that the East Sea issue is a matter of mutual concern as it relates to peace, stability and security in the entire region.
Interviewed about the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' (FM) Retreat, the 9th ASEAN Politics-Security Community Council Meeting and the ASEAN Coordinating Council Meeting held on April 10- 11, Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh stated that the FMs reiterated the association's common principles of ensuring peace, stability, maritime security and safety, and peaceful settlement of disputes.
ASEAN's principles also include the respect for international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and the early achievement of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea.
The ministers put special emphasis on the need for the group to continue their unity and further bring into full play their centrality to uphold these common principles.
According to Vinh, the ministers all highlighted their serious respect for the implementation of commitments relating to the East Sea issue, especially the Declaration on Six-point Principles on the East Sea, and the ASEAN-China joint statement on the 10th anniversary of the signing of the DOC.
They committed to soon having the COC to ensure peace, stability and security in the East Sea in a better and more efficient manner and agreed to assign ASEAN senior officials to actively consult China so as to advance negotiations on the COC.
On this occasion, the ministers voiced their support and positive evaluation of the active role and contributions made by Brunei in its capacity as ASEAN Chair 2013 and by Thailand as a coordinator for ASEAN-China relations to promoting ASEAN principles and the COC.
They agreed with and supported the ASEAN Chair – Brunei – to issue a press release on the East Sea issue.
Present at these meetings, Viet Nam closely worked with Brunei, Thailand and other ASEAN member countries to ensure the group's common voice was heard and its leadership maintained while effectively implementing ASEAN's goals and principles on the East Sea.
Viet Nam strongly backed the group's Declaration on Six-point Principles on the East Sea, as well as peace, stability, and maritime security and safety in the East Sea, peaceful resolution of disputes without using force, the respect for international law and the UNCLOS, the full implementation of the DOC and the early conclusion of the COC.
The Vietnamese delegation to these events, led by Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, made important contributions to ASEAN's common prioritised areas, preserving and intensifying ASEAN unity and promoting the group's external relations.
Aside from the East Sea issue and other regional matters of mutual concern, the ASEAN foreign ministers agreed on the region's prioritised orientations for 2013.
Accordingly, ASEAN needs to enhance solidarity and further promote their leading role in addressing major issues regarding peace, security, stability and development in the region.
The group needs to continue its efforts to enhance dialogues, build trust and share standards for codes of conduct while deploying tools for political and security cooperation including the Treaty and Cooperation (TAC), the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ), the DOC, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM+).
At the same time, the bloc should uphold its central role in the evolving regional architecture as well as within regional cooperation frameworks such as ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3, the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). — VNS