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PM: Asia, Europe must work together

Update: October, 17/2014 - 08:42
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (third left in the middle row) and international leaders pose for a picture during the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) yesterday in Milan.— Photo AFP

MILAN (VNS) — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung stressed that sustainable development was the key to fighting rising global challenges in his address to the second plenary session of the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM10) held in Milan yesterday.

Dung said that ASEM must put people at the center of its development, thus strengthening the two continents' capacity to fight global issues such as the economic downturn, climate change, disasters and the threat of epidemics such as Ebola.

The priorities for ASEM co-operation now were contributing to the Millennium Development Goals and the post-2015 agenda, as well as new and more integrated approaches to traditional problems such as food security, water resources, energy and climate change. He noted that Asia and Europe were hit by 70 per cent of global disasters and two-thirds of disaster victims were in Asia.

PM Dung also highly appreciated the support of other member countries for Viet Nam's initiatives to hold an ASEM conference on protecting water resources to ensure food security, an ASEM youth week on poverty and a conference on green growth skills toward sustainable development.

He also met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the conference.

Dung reaffirmed that the Party, Government and people of Viet Nam treasured the traditional relations between the two countries and said both sides should continue exchanging high-delegation visits to enhance co-operation, in addition to organising the seventh meeting of the Steering Committee for Viet Nam-China Bilateral Co-operation.

He also met with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, saying Viet Nam would provide full support for Japanese businesses to invest in the country, including the effective realisation of the Viet Nam-Japan Joint Initiative on improving the investment environment.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung  also meets with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe. — VNA Photo

PM Dung co-chaired an unofficial ASEAN-EU Summit with President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso yesterday.

This was the first summit co-chaired by Viet Nam as a co-ordinator of ASEAN-EU relations. During the event, the two sides reviewed their bilateral co-operation and presented a vision to improve and foster ASEAN-EU dialogue relations in the future.

Regarding the East Sea dispute, both sides stressed the importance of ensuring peace, stability and maritime safety, security and freedom in the sea; abiding by international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the principle of settling disputes peacefully, and the principle of non-use of force or threat to use force; fully and seriously implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC); and working towards the early formation of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

With regards to economic co-operation, the two sides agreed to resume negotiations for a post-2015 free trade agreement between the two parties in 2015 and increase their transport links via land, air and sea.

The EU pledged to continue to share its expertise and support ASEAN in its efforts to establish an official community, especially in the bloc's priority areas, such as narrowing the development gap and improving the capacity of management.

ASEAN and the EU are major trading partners with two-way trade worth US$242.6 billion in 2013, accounting for 9.8 percent of ASEAN's total trade. The EU is also one of the biggest foreign investors in ASEAN with registered capital of $23.3 billion, 22 percent of ASEAN's total FDI.

Significant link

Talking with entrepreneurs attending the 14th Asia-Europe Business Forum (AEBF) in the Italian city of Milan, PM Dung said Viet Nam is rapidly restructuring its economy and transforming its growth model. — VNA Photo

Talking with entrepreneurs attending the 14th Asia-Europe Business Forum (AEBF) in the Italian city of Milan, PM Dung said Viet Nam is rapidly restructuring its economy and transforming its growth model.

Viet Nam will be an important link in the large Asia-Europe economic network of 56 countries once 14 free trade agreements (FTAs) that it is negotiating are finalised and implemented by 2020.

Intensive and comprehensive international integration efforts have helped Viet Nam establish itself as an active player in Southeast Asia and a bridge between continental and island ASEAN economies.

These developments form the foundation for Viet Nam to increase its contributions to Asia-Europe connections and take part in the global value chain in a deeper manner, the PM said.

Dung called upon Asian and European enterprises to implement ASEM action programmes in order to facilitate trade and investment, and support developing member states cope with non-traditional security challenges.

By 2020, ASEAN will be a pinnacle in the Asian-Pacific economic-trade network, once the FTAs between the bloc and its partners are ratified, an ASEAN framework for a regional comprehensive economic partnership is formed, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is signed, and negotiations on a post-2015 FTA between ASEAN and EU are resumed, he said.

The October 15-16 business forum was attended by a number of ASEM leaders including President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, and the Prime Ministers of Italy, Japan and Malaysia.

They highlighted the need to increase businesses' roles in and contribution to inter-continental links in the face of slow global economic recovery.

The leaders also told businesses to support governments in increasing trade and investment flows; ensuring food, water and energy security; developing green technologies; and sustainably managing resources.

The forum attracted 800 representatives of leading Asian and European groups including Vietnamese companies like Viet Nam Airlines, the National Oil and Gas Group, and the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam.

Berlin address

Vietnamese PM Nguyen Tan Dungo addressed German politicians and scholars at the Koerber Foundation in Berlin. — VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam

Earlier in Berlin, the Vietnamese PM also addressed German politicians and scholars at the Koerber Foundation.

He said Viet Nam accords top priority to ensuring a peaceful and stable environment for national development and improved living standards for all citizens.

Dung expressed his concerns about emerging threats to peace, security and development in the Asia-Pacific region.

Though the region has emerged as an engine for global economic growth and a new economic and power centre that accounts for nearly 55 percent of global gross domestic product, it still faces many problems such as escalating tensions in the Korean Peninsula and territorial disputes in the East Sea, he said.

The region has a trust deficiency problem, the PM said, adding that against such a backdrop, all nations should strengthen the role of multilateral institutions and join hands to build a stable and durable regional architecture that can generate the capacity to respond to challenges.

He said: "It is Viet Nam's consistent policy not to form alliances with one country against another. While firmly safeguarding our legitimate interests, we earnestly wish to work with other countries to build strategic trust – a mutual and permanent trust, on the basis of the UN Charter and international law, respect for each other's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and peaceful settlement of disputes, equal and mutually beneficial cooperation for peace, stability, cooperation and development of the region and the world." — VNS


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