|Minister of Foreign Affairs Bùi Thanh Sơn. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The 28th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF-28) took place virtually on August 6 as part of the 54th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM 54) and Related Meetings.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Bùi Thanh Sơn led the Vietnamese delegation to the forum, which gathered representatives from 27 countries.
Exchanging views on the ARF’s future direction, participating countries reaffirmed the importance of the ARF as a leading forum for promoting dialogue and constructive co-operation regarding security issues in the region. They supported the ARF in enhancing its actions and continuing to play an important role in the regional architecture with ASEAN at the centre.
The meeting approved 38 activities for 2021-22 in such areas as peacekeeping, marine waste, the law of the sea and fisheries, and ferry traffic safety. In particular, Việt Nam will co-chair some of them, including those on strengthening co-operation on law enforcement at sea; security and safety standards in the use of nuclear energy; and disease response and recovery.
On international and regional issues, the forum shared a common perception on the importance of peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea.
Participating foreign ministers reaffirmed the principles of settling disputes in the waters by peaceful measures and self-restraint, as well as upholding international law.
They underscored the full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and welcomed new progress in building an effective and efficient Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Speaking at the meeting, Sơn said over the past three decades, ARF has proven its values and strength in promoting dialogues, co-operation and trust building in the region.
Expressing his concern over socio-economic impacts caused by COVID-19, the minister called for joint efforts against the pandemic, and suggested partners in ARF, especially countries that are taking the lead in vaccine production, continue their co-operation with ASEAN to ensure fair and equitable vaccine access and facilitate the transfer of vaccine production technology.
For the East Sea issue, he reiterated the principle stance of ASEAN and Việt Nam, and stressed the significance of promoting trust, exercising restraint, and taking no actions that would complicate the situation and harm the maritime environment.
Disputes and differences should be resolved through peaceful measures in line with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS), he said.
The minister affirmed that Việt Nam will actively work with other ASEAN member countries and China to build an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in accordance with international law and the 1982 UNCLOS.
At the end of the event, countries adopted a statement on promoting the youth, peace and security agenda. — VNS