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ASEAN+3 builds links in East Asia

Update: July, 11/2012 - 09:54
PHNOM PENH — The Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) should continue striving to build an ASEAN Community, strengthening regional links and narrowing the development gap between member states, said Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh at the 13th ASEAN+3 (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea) Foreign Ministers Meeting here yesterday.

Vinh praised the practical development of ASEAN+3 relations and the active participation and important contributions of China, Japan, and RoK, and he urged member states to advance the bloc's central role in regional forums

In the future, he said, members of ASEAN+3 should continue to deepen co-operation in finance and currency, while effectively implementing the Chiang Mai Initiative and encouraging the private sector to get involved in the Asian Bond Markets Initiative.

The bloc and its partners should strengthen links in trade, investment, infrastructure, transport and human resource development, he added.

Vinh also participated yesterday in the 5th Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers Meeting and the 2nd Mekong-RoK Foreign Ministers Meeting.

Addressing the Mekong-Japan meeting, Vinh suggested that, over the next two years, the Mekong nations and Japan should focus on co-operating on important issues for subregional development, including hard and soft infrastructure development, particularly the East-West corridor and the Southern corridor. He also called for close co-ordination among Mekong sub-regional countries in managing and developing the Mekong River in a sustainable manner, focusing on assessing the impacts of hydroelectric dams on the main flow of the river.

Speaking at the Mekong-RoK Foreign Ministers Meeting, Vinh said the Mekong-RoK framework should propose co-operative ideas to make full use of each member nation's expertise, such as human resource training for the Mekong Subregion Information Superhighway, experience sharing and mutual support in building a green growth model.

He emphasised the absolute necessity for co-operation among nations in the management and exploitation of the waters of the Mekong in the context of increasing pressures from population growth, economic development and climate change.

Along with reviewing and directing co-operative programmes, the meetings also discussed regional and international issues of common concern, as well as existing challenges such as food security, natural disaster management, and the reshuffling of the Security Council.

Many countries also expressed their concerns over recent developments in the East Sea and their impacts on regional peace, stability and maritime security – particularly complex developments which harm exclusive economic zones and the sovereignty of coastal nations over continental shelf, affirming that all nations should respect and comply with international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Vinh reaffirmed that the Vietnamese Government opposed the setting up of China's so-called "Sansha City" as well as its invitation for bids on nine petroleum lots within Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

China's acts, Vinh said, seriously violated the sovereign and jurisdictional rights of coastal nations over their exclusive economic zone and continental shelf as stated in the UNCLOS, and went contrary to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), threatening regional peace, stability, and maritime security. He also reaffirmed Viet Nam's support for settling disputes through peaceful means and without force in respect of international law, the UNCLOS and the DOC. — VNS

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