VIENTIANE — Viet Nam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh underlined the importance of ensuring ASEAN’s solidarity, unity and central role as well as the sense of the community and the harmonious combination of national interests and that of the ASEAN.
He also recommended the increase of exchanges and coordination of ASEAN’s viewpoint on regional and international issues.
Speaking at the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM 49) which began in Laos’s capital city of Vientiane yesterday, the Deputy PM affirmed Viet Nam commits to actively participating in and contributing effectively to the implementation of ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
He suggested assessing quality as well as difficulties in implementing action lines so as to timely draw up appropriate solutions or make suitable adjustment.
Talking about regional and international issues, Minh emphasized that while peace, cooperation, development continue to be the main trend, not a few complicated challenges have surfaced with unpredictable consequences such as war and conflict in the Middle East and Africa, terrorism, migration, climate change, unrest in South Asia and tension in the Korean Peninsula.
The Deputy PM emphasized the multifaceted importance of the East Sea towards countries inside and outside the region and shared concerns over recent complex happenings along with their impacts on the region’s peace, security and stability.
He reiterated ASEAN’s important role in promoting peace, stability and co-operation between countries in the region, creating favourable environment for countries to resolve peacefully disputes in line with international law and the 1982 United National Convention on the Law of the Sea.
He also underlined the significance of ASEAN maintaining the existing common viewpoint and called on countries to restrain themselves, not to pursue militarization, respect legal
and diplomatic procedures, abide to the Declaration of Conduct of Parties on the East Sea (DOC) and work for the early formation of the Code of Conduct.
The foreign ministers stressed that the bloc should give top priority to strengthening solidarity and unity as it is the prerequisite for the success of ASEAN Community building
process, a foundation for ASEAN to assert and prove its role, responsibility and voice in dealing with strategic issues relating to peace, security and regional stability, helping to enhance the bloc’s image and prestige.
Regarding economic affairs, the meeting applauded new action plans set for 2016-2025 in investment, trade facilitation, transport, small and medium sized enterprises, tourism, technological science and agro-forestry.
The ministers underscored the significance of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community in improving regional livelihoods and building ASEAN identity.
They hailed stellar achievements made by the member states, including the adoption and implementation of ASEAN action plans on labour, education, the environment, healthcare and natural calamity management, as well as the building of ASEAN guidelines for corporate social responsibility on labour and green economy sustainable development.
Discussing ASEAN’s external relations, ministers hailed the progress of ASEAN ties with partners, with 86 partners appointing ambassadors to ASEAN and 50 ASEAN committees established in third countries.
They agreed that ASEAN would continue its foreign policy of openness, enhancing co-operation with partners, contributing to dealing with challenges and assisting ASEAN in realising the
2025 Vision and narrowing development gap.
On regional and global issues, ministers discussed issues of common concern, including the Korean peninsula, the Middle East, the East Sea and emerging challenges such as terrorism, human trafficking, migration, transnational crime, maritime security, climate change and natural disasters.
Countries pledged to further promote the building and sharing of standards in relations among regional countries, including the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation of Southeast Asia (TAC), the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).
Ministers affirmed the East Sea’s importance to regional peace, stability and co-operation.
They expressed concern over the recent developments in the East Sea, including the construction and militarisation which have exacerbated tension and eroded trust, hurting peace, security and stability in the region.
The East Sea issue is the test to ASEAN’s unity and central role, they said.
Participants reiterated their consistent stance on the peaceful settlement of disputes in line with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, stressed the importance of upholding international law, legal and diplomatic processes, and called for self-restraint and refraining from the use or threat to use forces, non-militarisation, preventing actions that complicate the situation and increase tension, towards achieving practical progresses in the implementation of the DOC and the building of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea. — VNA