NAY PYI TAW (VNS) — ASEAN should play an active role in maintaining peace, security and stability in the region, and implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said yesterday during a summit in Myanmar.
The PM said it was important all countries abide by the declaration, especially Article 5, which stipulated that they must practice restraint and refrain from broadening or accelerating tensions and complicating the situation.
He was speaking at the plenary session of the 25th ASEAN Summit in Myanmar's capital, Nay Pyi Taw.
The declaration also said parties must not use or threaten to use force, and must settle all disputes peacefully while respecting international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Dung said that ASEAN members should work harder to implement previously made agreements. This included the agreement between ASEAN and China that builds mechanisms to ensure the full implementation of the declaration.
During a previous summit in May, ASEAN expressed its deep concern about the escalating tensions in the East Sea, which affected peace, stability, maritime safety and freedom, Dung said. However, the East Sea issue remained complex, with large-scale reinforcements being built on reefs and islands, contradicting the agreement.
Dung said peace, co-operation and development continued to be major trends in East Asia. However, the risk of instability had continued to rise in some regions, coupled with non-traditional security challenges that affected stability and development.
Speaking about the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community and post-2015 orientations, he said Viet Nam would co-operate with other members to build the new community.
He also said ASEAN needed to step up co-operation with partners to tackle security challenges, such as natural disasters, epidemics, climate change, water resource security, maritime security, terrorism and trans-national crimes. He said he considered these high priorities.
Myanmar's president, U Thein Sein, said solidarity was a prerequisite for the success of the ASEAN Community.
Once the new ASEAN Community was set up, he said it would be necessary to strengthen links, build trust and promote the central role of the association.
During the plenary session, ASEAN members discussed a wide range of issues, including ASEAN Economic Community progress, the post-2015 ASEAN community, ways to boost partnerships, and regional and international matters of common concern. They agreed that the ASEAN Economic Community project was about 80 per cent complete.
Members voiced concerns about the East Sea issue. They underscored the significance of maintaining peace, stability, maritime and aviation security, safety and freedom in the sea.
Concluding the session, the members passed the Nay Pyi Taw Statement on the ASEAN Community's post-2015 vision, a statement on strengthening the capacity of the ASEAN Secretariat and enhancing collaboration between ASEAN bodies. They also passed the ASEAN Declaration on Climate Change.
Members announced the establishment of an ASEAN Institution for Green Economy to foster more co-operation on climate change.
Established in 1967, ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
PM meets UN leader
Yesterday, PM Dung met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of the Summit.
Ban said he looked forward to Viet Nam's contribution to UN's strategies and action programmes as a responsible member of the UN.
Dung said Viet Nam would help the UN meet its post-2015 sustainable-development goals by integrating them into the country's socio-economic targets.
Viet Nam would also become more involved in negotiations organised by the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change. This is aimed at reaching a new globally binding agreement in 2015, he added.
The PM said he hoped that Viet Nam received further policy consultations and practical assistance from the UN, especially in sustainable poverty reduction, HIV/AIDS prevention and control, and adaptation to climate change.
The country expected the UN to support its bids to become a member of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for the 2016-2018 term, and its bid for non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council in 2020-2021.
The UN Secretary-General spoke highly of Viet Nam's attainments in fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals, which he credited with making the country one of the fastest growing economies in the region.
He thanked Viet Nam for supporting the "One UN" initiative and valued its participation in UN peace-keeping forces. He congratulated the country on its election as a member of the UN Human Rights Council and acknowledged its contributions to the formulation of the UN's post-2015 sustainable development goals.
Regarding the East Sea situation, Ban Ki-moon repeated the UN's stance that all disputes over the sovereignty of waters should be settled through dialogue, adding that concerned parties must avoid action that escalate tension.
He said he hoped regional meetings would offer opportunities for involved parties to solve the issue, and that the UN was willing to provide assistance.
PM Dung yesterday also attended separate ASEAN summit meetings with India , Japan and the United Nations.
He was also at another meeting to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the ASEAN–Australia partnership.
In his addresses, the PM touched upon the East Sea issue, urging parties concerned to comply with international law, and calling for the prompt formulation of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea.
Agreeing with his appeal, participants highlighted the maintenance of regional peace, security and stability while ensuring the security, safety, and freedom of aviation and maritime activities in the East Sea .
At the ASEAN–India Summit, the Vietnamese leader asked India to continue its support for the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community, as well as narrowing the development gap and improving the capacity of ASEAN to cope with global challenges, especially sustainable development in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region.
He said both sides should utilise the agreements reached on the ASEAN–India free trade area, and promote the activities of the ASEAN–India Centre and the ASEAN–India Trade and Investment Centre, with a view to increasing bilateral trade to US$100 billion by 2015.
He also suggested boosting bilateral consultations and dialogues in fields of shared concern, including national defence-security talks.
At the ASEAN–Japan Summit, the PM pushed for further economic, trade and investment cooperation by accelerating the strategic agenda on economic cooperation between ASEAN and Japan; promptly approving two chapters on trade, services and investment as part of the ASEAN–Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership to double bilateral trade by 2022; and concluding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations.
The PM said Viet Nam welcomed Japan's active contributions to the common goals of peace, stability and development co-operation in the region, including its "active pacifism" initiative.
He said Viet Nam backed the adoption of the ASEAN–Japan Declaration on Joint Action to tackle terrorism and trans-national crime and Japan 's application to host the ASEAN–Japan informal defence ministers' meeting in the near future.
At the ASEAN–UN Summit, the Government leader urged the UN to continue its support for the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community, and the realisation of sustainable development goals, which include poverty reduction, universal education, gender equality, prevention of HIV/AIDS and combating epidemics.
Addressing ASEAN and Australian leaders at the summit to celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations, the PM suggested both sides allocate more resources to the implementation of previous commitments, including the 2015-2019 Action Plan.
Yesterday, Dung met his Russian and Australian counterparts on the sidelines of the summit to discuss boosting bilateral ties.
Meeting Russian PM Dmitri Medvedev, the Vietnamese leader asked for stronger efforts to realise their comprehensive strategic partnership and complete key agreements to be signed during the Party General Secretary's upcoming visit to Russia, accelerating the negotiations on a free-trade agreement between Viet Nam and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
With bilateral trade expected to reach US$10 billion in the future, Medvedev promised to support Vietnamese goods in entering the Russian market, especially agricultural goods. He also agreed with Viet Nam and ASEAN's stance to address disputes peacefully and in line with international law.
In a meeting with the Australian PM, Tony Abbott, PM Dung called for Australia's support for Vietnamese exports and scholarships for Vietnamese students.
Speaking highly of Australia's official development assistance, he said the country was keen to see more Australian support for sustainable development and climate-change response.
The PM suggested the Viet Nam-Australia action programme be adopted soon.
With regard to the East Sea issue, Abbott expressed his approval of ASEAN and Viet Nam's position on dealing with the dispute. — VNS