ASEAN and Japan developed "heart to heart" relations over the past years: ministers

August, 03/2021 - 18:38
Minister of Foreign Affairs Bùi Thanh Sơn yesterday affirmed that the partnership between ASEAN and Japan over the past five decades had been a 'heart-to-heart' relationship and had grown stronger even in the most difficult times.


Minister of Foreign Affairs Bùi Thanh Sơn and Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Motegi Toshimits shake hands online. VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Minister of Foreign Affairs Bùi Thanh Sơn yesterday affirmed that the partnership between ASEAN and Japan over the past five decades had been a 'heart-to-heart' relationship and had grown stronger even in the most difficult times.

Sơn, who holds the role of coordinating ASEAN – Japan relations, made the statement while co-chairing the online conference of ASEAN-Japan Foreign Ministers as part of the ongoing 54th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting with the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi. 

Sơn said that during the past three years, the two sides had cooperated well on potential opportunities and overcome many challenges, especially in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They had continued to expand and deepen cooperation with many important outcomes.

The Japanese Foreign Minister affirmed that Japan attached importance to the Japan-ASEAN strategic partnership and that Japan wished to coordinate with ASEAN to effectively implement the Joint Statement of the 23rd ASEAN-Japan Summit.

Minister Motegi affirmed that as a friend of ASEAN, Japan would continue to support ASEAN countries to improve their preventive medical capacity, provide medical supplies, medicines, vaccines and cold storage systems, and provide financial support for post-pandemic recovery efforts as well as the implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Plan.

The countries pledged to carry out meaningful commemorative activities towards the 50th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan relations and agreed to hold the Commemorative Summit in Japan in 2023.

The ASEAN Foreign Ministers welcomed the positive progress in ASEAN-Japan relations.

ASEAN member countries appreciated that Japan was always the leading trade, investment and infrastructure development partner of ASEAN members. Japan also played an important role in promoting the regional economy, strengthening technical assistance to countries in the region, contributing to improving people's quality of life, narrowing the development gap and promoting sustainable development.

ASEAN foreign ministers highly appreciated Japan's timely and effective support for COVID-19 response efforts, including Japan's contribution of US$1 million to the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund and especially a $50 million grant to help establish the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED).

ASEAN asked Japan to help ensure an even and effective vaccine supply, and support the ACPHEED centre to operate sustainably and to invest in the development of high-quality infrastructure, including in the Mekong sub-region.

Discussing regional and international issues of mutual concern, ASEAN and Japan emphasised the importance of dialogue, building trust, continuing to uphold common values ​​and principles on equal relations, friendship, mutual respect, trust, mutual benefit and respect for international law.

Japan affirmed its support for ASEAN's stance on the East Sea, welcomed ASEAN to play its role in promoting cooperation, dialogue, building trust in the region, and ensuring the full and effective implementation of the Declaration of Conduct in the East Sea (DOC), building an effective and efficient Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in accordance with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Welcoming the outcome of the ASEAN Leaders' Meeting on April 24, Japan affirmed its support for ASEAN's role in promoting dialogue and reconciliation and assisting Myanmar in finding solutions to stabilise the country.

Minister Bùi Thanh Sơn especially thanked Japan for providing vaccines and cold storage to Việt Nam. He also asked Japan to share experiences in research, marine environmental protection, search and rescue.

Minister Sơn affirmed ASEAN's consistent stance on the East Sea issue and asked Japan to support ASEAN's efforts to build the East Sea area into one of stability, cooperation, security, and safety.

At the end of the meeting, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bùi Thanh Sơn transferred the role of coordinator for ASEAN-Japan relations in the 2021-2024 period to the Thai Foreign Minister. — VNS