|Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc (fifth, from left) stands with delegation heads at the opening ceremony of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summit and related summits, held in Vientiane, Lao yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất|
VIENTIANE – In a speech delivered to the plenary session of the 28th ASEAN Summit—which opened in Laos yesterday—Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc urged ASEAN member states to strengthen consultations and raise a common voice on regional issues directly impacting regional security and development.
The Prime Minister underscored the need to enhance ASEAN’s capacity and self-reliance and to uphold the bloc’s central role. In addition, he urged the summit to identify priorities towards the implementation of the ASEAN Vision 2025 and action plans for each pillar.
On the political-security pillar, ASEAN needs to promote trust-building activities, preventive diplomatic measures, ASEAN’s code of conduct, and law abidance—especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Together, he said, ASEAN nations can contribute to peace and security by working closely together to prevent conflict risks in the region and to cope with non-traditional security challenges, particularly terrorism and cyber security.
In the economic field, priority should be given to facilitating trade, improving the business and investment climate, developing small- and medium-sized enterprises in added value and technological sectors, increasing coordination in macro-economic supervision and financial-monetary stability, he said.
The government leader called to intensify cultural exchange, personnel training, environmental protection, climate change response, and disaster control.
On bolstering connectivity and narrowing the development gap, he suggested developing road and railway networks, improving maritime and aviation capabilities, and bolstering the integration capacity of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Việt Nam.
Toward the 50th founding anniversary of ASEAN next year, the PM said Việt Nam vows to take practical and effective actions to do more for the bloc.
At the session, ASEAN leaders stressed the need to retain their unity and improve the efficiency of operating mechanisms in order to bring practical benefits for the bloc’s people.
Later, they held dialogues with representatives from the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Council, the ASEAN Youth Organisation and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council.
In the afternoon the same day, leaders attended ceremonies to sign the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN, One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region, adopt the Master Plan on 2025 ASEAN Connectivity and the third phase of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration Work Plan, and debut the “Visit ASEAN@50” campaign logo.
Participants are due to attend the 29th ASEAN Summit, the ASEAN+1 Summit with China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and the United Nations, the ASEAN+3 Summit and the Mekong-Japan Summit today.
Meetings with Lao, Philippine leaders
PM Phúc had a cordial meeting with Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos in Vientiane yesterday, prior to the opening session of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and related meetings.
PM Phúc reasserted Việt Nam’s support for Laos’s ASEAN Presidency after speaking highly of the country’s success organising a host of activities.
The Lao PM pledged that his country would work with other ASEAN countries and dialogue partners to preserve the bloc’s unity and promote the outcomes of its conferences so to contribute to maintaining peace and stability in the region and the world at large.
The leaders showed their delight at the growing bilateral ties and agreed to ratchet up measures to optimise economic cooperation.
Following the opening session, PM Phúc had a meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, the first ever between the two leaders.
They were delighted that the two countries’ relations had robust developments across the board, and they affirmed the importance of their bilateral strategic partnership.
President Duterte expressed his wish for broader cooperation within the strategic partnership as well as in combating human trafficking, protecting migrant labourers, and in cultural and social affairs. He also thanked Vietnam for helping his country ensure food security.
The leaders stressed the importance of maintaining peace and security, stepping up cooperation, and handling disputes by peaceful measures in compliance with international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982, in the East Sea and consented to work together for those goals.
The leaders also sought to reinforce the two countries’ coordination through the foreign ministries’ relationship and other cooperative mechanisms.
They agreed to prioritise stronger economic cooperation and facilitate respective investment.
The two countries will continue supporting each other when Việt Nam assumes the APEC Chair and the Philippines take on the ASEAN Presidency in 2017.
PM Phúc invited President Duterte to visit Việt Nam and the Philippine President accepted the invitation with pleasure.
Also yesterday, PM Phúc met with Lao Party General Secretary and President of Laos, Bounnhang Volachith, and Lao National Assembly Chairman Pany Yathotou.
PM Phúc and Lao Party General Secretary Volachith agreed that the two sides needed to focus on effectively implementing signed deals and agreements in the time to come, and co-ordinate to well prepare for the annual meeting of the two Politburos and the 39th meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Inter-governmental Committee, contributing to further strengthening and tightening the special solidarity and comprehensive co-operation between the two Parties and States.
The two countries vowed to closely work together to organise activities for the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations, and the 40th year of the Vietnam-Laos Friendship and Cooperation Treaty in 2017, through which raising the awareness of the special relationship among people, especially younger generations, of the two countries.
In a separate talk with Lao NA Chairwoman Yathotou, PM Phúc called for the two NAs to intensify supervision to effectively implement high-level cooperation deals and agreements, especially those signed at the 38th meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Inter-governmental Committee, facilitating investment projects between the two countries.
The PM urged the Lao NA to continue supporting necessary changes and supplements to mechanisms, policies and laws with the aim of strengthening mutual cooperation in trade and investment between the two sides.
On his part, Yathotou requested that both sides increase co-operation and share information as well as experience in developing institutions and legal systems, and in supervising law enforcement. — VNS