Remarks by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung at the 24th ASEAN Summit
Excellency President U Thein Sein, Chair of ASEAN Summit 2014,
At the outset, Viet Nam would like to thank Myanmar for the hospitality and congratulate the country on its assumption of the ASEAN Chair for the first time. Myanmar always has Viet Nam's support and cooperation in making its ASEAN Chair 2014 a success.
In accordance with our Meeting's agenda, we wish to share some ideas as follows:
1. On regional peace and security
Viet Nam wishes to give a briefing on and underline the East Sea issue.
Peace, stability, maritime security and safety, and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, which is the common interest of ASEAN, the region and the world are under a serious threat. Since May 1st 2014, China brazenly moved its deep-water drilling rig escorted by over 80 armed and military vessels and many airplanes to the Vietnamese waters and installed the rig at the location which is 80 miles deep into the Vietnamese continental shelf and exclusive economic zone prescribed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS). China's armed vessels escorting aggressively fired high-power water cannons at and intentionally rammed the Vietnamese public-service and civil ships, causing damage to many ships and injuring many people on board. This is the first time China brazenly brings and installs its drilling rig deep into the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone of an ASEAN country, which gravely violates the international law, the 1982 UNCLOS, and the Declaration on the conducts of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) to which China is a signatory. This extremely dangerous action has been and is directly threatening peace, stability and maritime security and safety in the East Sea.
Viet Nam has exercised utmost restraint, showed every gesture of goodwill and exhausted all dialogue channels to communicate with the Chinese authorities of different levels for expressing protest and demanding China to immediately withdraw its drilling rig and armed and military vessels from the Vietnamese waters. Nevertheless, up to now, China has failed to respond to Viet Nam's legitimate demand. On the contrary, China has been slandering and blaming Viet Nam while continuing to escalate its increasingly dangerous and serious acts of violation.
Viet Nam always attaches special importance to and spares no effort to preserve and strengthen good friendly relations with China. It is always Viet Nam's sincere desire to work with China for the settlement of disputes via peaceful means on the basis of international laws, equality and mutual respect in the interest of the two countries' people and that of peace and stability in the region and the world. However, national territory is sacred, and Viet Nam vehemently denounces acts of infringement and will resolutely protect our national sovereignty and legitimate interests in conformity with the international law.
We express our deep gratitude to and urgently call on ASEAN members, other countries in the world, individuals and international organizations to continue voicing their protest against the above-mentioned acts of serious violation and support the legitimate demand of Viet Nam.
In face of this extremely serious situation, Viet Nam requests that ASEAN strengthen solidarity and unity, and strongly reaffirm the principles enshrined in the Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea while demanding China to observe the international law, the 1982 UNCLOS, especially to respect the continental shelf and 200-mile exclusive economic zone of coastal countries, to implement fully and strictly implement the DOC, and to work with ASEAN for substantive negotiation on the COC.
Viet Nam requests that ASEAN include the East Sea issue described above in the Joint Statement and the Chair Statement of this ASEAN Summit. Viet Nam welcomes the fact that on May 10th 2014, ASEAN Foreign Ministers adopted a stand-alone Statement on the serious situation in the East Sea. This showcases ASEAN's central role, proactive approach and high responsibility for peace, stability and security in the region.
2. On the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community
Viet Nam appreciates the Report of the ASEAN Secretary General on ASEAN community - building activities. In this connection, Viet Nam believes that greater efforts should be made in the following aspects:
In the first place, it is incumbent upon each country and the entire region to redouble efforts for the on-schedule implementation of the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community. Along with raising the quality of nearly 80% of the lines of actions completed or under implementation, ASEAN needs to give priority to implementing the remaining 20%. Viet Nam supports the adoption of the Nay Pyi Taw Declaration on ASEAN Community Building as a guiding document for activities to be conducted in 2014.
We need to strengthen and promote ASEAN's leading role in ensuring peace, security, stability and development in the region as well as effectively responding to emerging challenges.
In addition to community-building efforts, ASEAN needs to further promote its centrality, particularly amid major powers' proposing many initiatives on regional security. The Association needs to be more proactive, positive and speak with one voice in important issues with direct impacts on peace, security and development in the region. In particular, we should uphold the principles of dispute settlement by peaceful means, restraint, non-use or threat of force and observance of the international law.
In this connection, ASEAN should enhance trust-building dialogues, develop and share common codes of conduct as well as promoting existing cooperation instruments and mechanisms, including the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), the Bali Declaration on the Principles for Mutually Beneficial Relations, the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ), and the ASEAN Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).
For this purpose, I support the proposal on developing a framework for common codes of conduct and cooperation in East Asia on the basis of the TAC principles, existing agreements and other recent relevant initiatives. This objective should be continually linked to ASEAN community-building efforts and the ASEAN Community's Post-2015 Vision.
To this end, ASEAN must continue to strengthen solidarity and unity and uphold the responsibility for the common good of the region on the basis of agreed principles and ways to better ensure regional peace, security and stability, hence the Association's strong, steady growth in the coming period.
We in ASEAN need to step up efforts for effective response to emerging non-traditional security challenges, including those related to environment, water resources, natural disasters, climate change, pandemics etc. In view of the recent consecutive natural disasters and hazards, ASEAN relevant agencies need to review and put forward proposals to enhance capacity for cooperation and timely, effective response in this area.
On this occasion, I would like to again express my deepest sympathy to the people of the Philippines for their losses and the severe consequences of the Haiyan typhoon and to families of the victims on the missing MH370 airplane. Hazards as such raise the demand for strengthening ASEAN's response and cooperation capacity. I propose that we soon conduct assessment and draw lessons with regard to regional coordination in this important endeavor.
3. On the future of the ASEAN Community
Viet Nam highly values ASEAN's high-level agreement on formulating an ASEAN Vision beyond 2015.
The ASEAN Community Post-2015 Vision must rest upon and follow up the achievements recorded in the 2009-2015 Roadmap on an ASEAN Community. Upon the establishment of the Community, ASEAN needs to move toward more ambitious goals of integration in all the three Pillars of the Community, strongly promote its centrality in the regional architecture, proactively step up and expand integration in East Asia. The Post-2015 Vision must make the Community work for the betterment of people's welfare, inspiring the sense of community and encouraging the people's voluntary and active engagement in this process. ASEAN should attach importance to the consolidation and strengthening of cooperation mechanisms for timely and effective response to hazards, including natural disasters, pandemics and accidents. We suggest that ASEAN Coordinating Council be tasked to develop joint commemorative plans to mark the birth of the ASEAN Community.
4. On review and future direction of ASEAN external relations
Viet Nam proposes that ASEAN should enhance its role and work with partners at regional forums and strengthen its leading role in the EAS and establish a framework of codes of conduct and cooperation, which is similar to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) and applicable to the entire East Asia.
As the Coordinator for ASEAN-EU dialogue relations, Viet Nam suggests that ASEAN and EU Foreign Ministers, at the upcoming 20th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting, take onboard the issue of deepening ASEAN-EU partnership, including the EU's proposal on organizing summit between the two sides' leaders. We support the proposal to review and map out the way forward to deepen ASEAN external relations.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Viet Nam would like to express its gratitude to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and highly values his contribution to the ASEAN community – building process. We wish him all the best!