|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (fourth, left) and his counterparts join hands yesterday at the ASEAN 24th Summit in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. — VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam
Nay Pyi Taw (VNS) — Leaders of the 24th ASEAN Summit have agreed to enhance strong efforts to build an ASEAN Community by 2015 and continue boosting development beyond 2015.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 24th ASEAN Summit yesterday in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, President U Thein Sein underscored that the association needed to strengthen solidarity and maintain unity to successfully build an ASEAN Community and effectively respond to new challenges.
The Summit also dedicated much attention to the East Sea issue. Amidst the serious situation in the East Sea caused by China's deployment of a drilling rig and a huge number of escort ships deep in Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, ASEAN leaders affirmed that the association's members needed to raise a common voice to express deep concern and highlight the importance of strict implementation of international law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).
The leaders agreed that all disputes must be settled by peaceful measures, practising self- restraint and not complicating the situation. They also highlighted the need to build a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) at an early date.
These contents are part of the Nay Pyi Taw Declaration on building an ASEAN Community by 2015. The declaration emphasises the need to strengthen cooperation to ensure the full and effective implementation of the DOC as well as principles widely acknowledged in international law and UNCLOS.
Myanmar President U Thein Sein, who presided over the event, hailed the significant contributions by leaders of the bloc to the success of the summit.
Leaders from the member countries agreed that the bloc needed to continue improving the mechanism to improve the operational and coordinative efficiency among its agencies, in addition to enhancing the operation of the ASEAN Secretariat to support the bloc's future targets.
Regarding the post-2015 development orientations, the leaders affirmed that the ASEAN Community should promote its key role in settling regional issues and concentrate on improving social welfare and coping with challenges posed by natural disasters and climate change.
Regarding diplomatic ties, attendees agreed to continue expanding and deepening relations with their regional partners, and realising cooperation agreements. Members should also promote cooperative ties with other potential nations and organisations outside the bloc, and increase coordination with them at international forums to elevate the association's role and position.
The ASEAN leaders also said the grouping should effectively promote existing tools of political-security partnerships such as the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in the East Sea (TAC), the Bali Principles and the DOC, while strengthening dialogue and cooperation frameworks to build trust in the region, including the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus and the Asia Regional Forum.
Similar contents were also included in a Statement of the Chairman of the 24th ASEAN Summit released the same day.
In the Chairman's Statement of the summit, ASEAN leaders expressed concerns over recent tension in the East Sea.
"We expressed serious concerns over the on-going developments in the South China Sea. We reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace and stability, maritime security, freedom of navigation in and over-flight above the South China Sea.We called on all parties to the DOC to undertake full and effective implementation of the DOC in its entirety in order to create an environment of mutual trust and confidence; to exercise self-restraint, not to resort to threat or use of force, and to resolve disputes by peaceful means in accordance with the universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
(UNCLOS). We emphasised the need for expeditiously working towards an early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). In this regard, we noted the importance of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Statement on the current developments in the South China Sea issued on 10th May 2014 at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting." — VNS