|Deputy Prime Minister cum Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh. — VNA/VNS Photo
KUALA LUMPUR (VNS) — Deputy Prime Minister cum Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh offered Viet Nam's views on directions and measures needed to achieve the formation of the ASEAN Community by the end of this year, as well as the bloc's post-2015 vision at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Retreat in Malaysia this week.
He also suggested co-operation priorities for ASEAN during 2015 and ways to deepen ASEAN's ties with its partners and enhance its central role in the emerging regional structure.
Regarding the East Sea dispute, Minh urged the bloc to utilise its central role to ensure regional peace and security and push the implementation of specific measures for the full and effective observance of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, particularly Article 5 on restraint and not complicating the situation. He also called for the acceleration of negotiations towards the early formulation of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea and trust-building measures to prevent and manage incidents at sea that could threaten peace, security and maritime and aviation safety in the East Sea.
The ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Retreat, themed: "Our People, Our Community, Our Vision", included discussions on the bloc's priorities in 2015 and the ASEAN Community's progress.
Delegates agreed on a series of key priorities, including launching the community as scheduled, completing a blueprint of the ASEAN Vision after 2015, improving the efficiency of the ASEAN apparatus, and expanding internal trade and investment by strengthening co-operation among small – and medium-sized enterprises.
It was reported that the group has achieved roughly 85 per cent of the tasks required to formally establish the community.
In order for the ASEAN to take shape as scheduled on December 31, member states should make stronger political commitments, invest proper resources, value the harmony of national and regional interests, and improve the efficiency of ASEAN supervisory mechanisms, according to delegates.
To develop the ASEAN Vision beyond 2015, a high-level task force has been established to draft action plans for 2016-2025 to be submitted to ASEAN leaders for approval during their 27th summit in November.
Ministers said that ASEAN should uphold its significant role in dealing with arising challenges and crises in the region via fast-response mechanisms, while fortifying internal connectivity, solidarity and unity to secure ASEAN's central role in the emerging regional structure.
They agreed that the bloc should improve the efficiency of its forums and mechanisms, including ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3, the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting, and the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum.
Turning to regional and global issues, the meeting issued a declaration from ASEAN foreign ministers condemning violence and atrocities committed by extremist organisations in Iraq and Syria.
Expressing concern over recent developments in the East Sea, ministers said the concerned parties should exercise restraint, avoid the use of force or threatening to do so, and peacefully settle disputes in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. — VNS