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ASEAN-US meet discusses East Sea

Update: February, 18/2016 - 09:21
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung ( second, right) is with heads of delegations to the ASEAN-US Summit that sought to protect peace, prosperity and security in the Asia-Pacific. — VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam

HA NOI (VNS) — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung raised deep concerns over recent complications in the East Sea at an ASEAN-US summit that sought to protect peace, prosperity and security in the Asia-Pacific.

During the discussion yesterday (Viet Nam time) in Sunnylands, California, in the US, he referred to activities that are altering the status quo, escalating militarisation and threatening peace, stability, security and safety of aviation and navigation in the sea. The discussion formed part of the ASEAN-US Special Leaders' Summit, the first following the establishment of the ASEAN Community.

The PM said the countries must prioritise the building of strategic trust, increasing dialogues and co-operation, and respecting compliance with international law – especially the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.

He called for the promotion of multilateral mechanisms and support for ASEAN's key role in maintaining a peaceful environment and security in the region.

PM Dung stressed the strategic significance of ASEAN-US relations, hailing positive and constructive support from the US and other partners for ASEAN's stance in handling regional security issues, including the East Sea issue.

ASEAN-US relations have progressed, he said, expressing his hope that both sides will work closely to carry out their action plan for 2016-2020 to bring their relations to the next level.

Tensions in the East Sea, the Korean Peninsula, the terror attack on Jakarta, cyber security, trans-national crimes and climate change caught interests of the leaders at the discussion.

They adopted a joint statement that affirms they'll firmly uphold the principles and purposes of international law, the UN Charter and the ASEAN Charter as the defining principles for ASEAN-US ties, according to a White House announcement.

They shared commitments to peaceful resolution of disputes, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to threats or the use of force in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law.

US President Barack Obama asserted that the US attaches importance to its co-operation with ASEAN and each of its member groups.

The US wishes to coordinate with ASEAN in dealing with global and regional challenges, including combating terrorism and extreme violence, human trafficking and the response to climate change, the President said.

The full text of the Sunnylands Declaration can be viewed at vietnamnews.vn.

The special ASEAN-US Leaders' Summit was the first ever to be held in the US as well as the first summit following the establishment of the ASEAN Community late last year, according to the announcement.

The Summit marked a watershed year for both ASEAN and for the increasingly close ASEAN-US strategic partnership.

Measures to boost

President Obama on Tuesday announced a package of measures designed to boost Southeast Asian economies, betting that the fast-growing region can be an increasingly important trade partner.

A White House official said on the sidelines of the ASEAN-US Summit in California that the plan will establish three economic offices in Indonesia's Jakarta, Thailand's Bangkok and Singapore to better coordinate the US's economic engagement.

The new "US-ASEAN Connect" package will include technical advice on how countries like Indonesia and the Philippines can prepare to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

Other measures will focus on improving trade ties in the communications and infrastructure sectors, among others, and streamlining current government programmes. It will also address the power sector.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

Collectively, the ASEAN countries are the fourth-largest trading partner of the US.

According to White House figures, two-way trade in goods and services has tripled since the 1990s, topping US$254 billion in 2014, supporting about half a million US jobs. — VNS

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