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PM suggests ASEAN increase external relations

Update: September, 08/2016 - 10:22
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc attends the 29 th ASEAN Summit and ASEAN+1 Summits with China and Japan in Vientiane, Laos, on September 7.— VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất

Vientiane — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc underlined the significance of strengthening co-operation between ASEAN and external partners to the building of the ASEAN Community and realisation of the 2025 Vision when attending the 29 th ASEAN Summit and ASEAN+1 Summits with China and Japan in Vientiane, Laos, on September 7.

He pointed to factors decisive to the bloc’s successful external relations, which are self-reliance and growth of each member state, the strengthening of solidarity and unity in the bloc, and the ability to harmonise interests of each ASEAN member country, the ASEAN as a whole and the association’s partners.

The PM said the thriving rapport between ASEAN and China has brought mutual benefits and now constitutes a leading factor for regional peace, security and prosperity.

He suggested the two sides increase political and strategic trust in the future while promoting comprehensive and pragmatic collaboration, addressing all differences and disputes via peaceful means on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

At the same time, the two sides should bolster their partnership in trade, investment and connectivity, tourism, cultural and people-to-people exchanges along with intensifying co-operation to respond to climate change, terrorism, crime, diseases, and natural disasters, including the sustainable use and management of water resources in the Mekong River, PM Phúc said.

He confirmed Việt Nam treasures relations with China and will do its utmost to coordinate with other ASEAN member countries to propel the ASEAN-China relationship forward.

To promote ASEAN-Japan relations, the PM suggested the two sides prioritise boosting economics-trade-investment links and soon conclude negotiations on the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (AJCEP) to realise the target of doubling bilateral trade and investment by 2022.

He proposed increasing infrastructure connectivity and facilitating investment and business activities.

PM Phúc highly valued Japan’s commitment to prioritising ASEAN in its “Partnership for Quality Infrastructure” initiative worth 200 billion USD.

Highlighting the targets of the ASEAN Chapter and ASEAN Community Vision 2025, PM Phúc said the ultimate goal is to maintain peace, security and stability in the region. He added that all countries in the region and the international community must share the responsibility for preserving peace, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea.

Mentioning recent developments, the PM said Việt Nam hopes ASEAN and China will work together to address satisfactorily any problems arising, toward a new period of peace, co-operation and development.

The PM welcomed ASEAN and China’s agreement on the application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) in the East Sea and the establishment of hotlines between foreign ministries to address emergencies at sea.

He proposed the two sides strive to complete the COC in 2017 on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the signing of the DOC and the 50th founding anniversary of ASEAN.

At the 19th ASEAN-China Summit which also marked the 25 years of their dialogue partnership, the two sides’ leaders expressed their pleasure at the significant strides in bilateral ties over the past 25 years. China remains the biggest trade partner of ASEAN with two-way trade reaching US$346.4 billion in 2015. It is also the fourth largest investor in ASEAN with investment of $8.2 billion in 2015.

The two sides have set the target of $1 trillion in bilateral trade and $150 billion in investment by 2020.

Both sides agreed to enhance co-operation in natural disaster management, environmental protection, climate change adaptation, health care, education, water resource management, and in coping with such challenges as terrorism, cybercrime, and human and drug trafficking.

Chinese leaders said they treasure relations with ASEAN and support its central role in the region. China hopes to expand and deepen ties with ASEAN and implement effectively the ASEAN-China Action Plan in 2016-2020 and the existing co-operation mechanisms such as Mekong-Lancang.

ASEAN countries re-affirmed the importance they attach to relations with China – which is considered one of the most important partners of ASEAN, and hope to work with China to address common matters such as terrorism, the environment, and climate change.

They voiced support for China’s initiatives on “One Belt – One Road” and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Regarding the East Sea issue, ASEAN leaders reiterated the significance of maintaining peace, stability, security, and safety of navigation in the East Sea, which is crucial to peace and stability in the region and the world as well as the relations between ASEAN and China and other foreign partners.

The two sides agreed on the necessity of enhancing dialogue and co-operation to maintain peace and stability in the East Sea, implementing effectively the DOC and soon signing the COC for mutual benefit.

The summit ended with the adoption of a Joint Statement to commemorate the 25 th anniversary of ASEAN-China dialogue relations; a Joint Statement on the application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) in the East Sea; a document guiding hotline communications between senior officials of ASEAN and Chinese foreign ministries in responding to emergencies at sea; and a Joint Statement on Production Capacity Co-operation.

At the 19 th ASEAN-Japan Summit, leaders confirmed their determination to strengthen the bilateral strategic partnership to contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe affirmed the importance of ASEAN in his country’s external policies, while ASEAN countries hailed the co-operation and assistance of Japan in various fields as well as its crucial role in promoting regional peace and prosperity.

Japan is currently the second biggest trade partner and investor of ASEAN. Two-way trade hit $239.4 billion in 2015, and Japan injected $17.4 billion into ASEAN in the same year, making up 14.5 percent of the total investment flow into the bloc.

Both ASEAN and Japan pledged to cooperate in fighting terrorism, extreme violence, cross-border and cybercrime, and in strengthening marine security.

The two sides showed deep concerns over the escalating tensions in the Korean peninsula and actions violating relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council. They stressed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, safety and freedom of navigation and over-flight in the East Sea and of settling disputes via peaceful means in line with international law, including the 1992 UNCLOS.

ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly

ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) leaders also gathered yesterday in Vientiane, for the ASEAN Summits, reiterating their mission to build a peaceful, stable and constantly developing ASEAN Community. 

National Assembly Vice Chairman Đỗ Bá Tỵ, head of the Vietnamese delegation, spoke highly of the draft AIPA Chairman’s statements at the summit, which fully reflected the common concerns of ASEAN as stated in the bloc’s documents, especially the Joint Statement adopted at the 49 th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-49) in Laos. 

The draft Statement also demonstrates ASEAN’s interest to boost relations with AIPA for the goal of building an ASEAN Community of peace, stability and development, he said.

During the AIPA-ASEAN leaders’ meeting, the Speaker of Malaysia’s House of Representatives presented the AIPA Statement on the implementation of ASEAN Community Vision 2025 across three pillars.

On the political-security pillar, the AIPA acknowledged the importance of navigation security and supported efforts to maintain and promote peace, stability, safety, security and freedom of aviation and navigation in the East Sea. It suggested that ASEAN states increase mutual trust and abstain from actions that could complicate the situation, while addressing disputes peacefully in line with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

The AIPA also supported the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and urged the involved parties to reach a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) as soon as possible. It emphasised the need to double efforts to fight terrorism, boost intelligence co-operation and promote dialogue. 

The assembly urged countries to nationally legalise ASEAN agreements towards the implementation of the Vision of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and to ensure benefits for people at micro, small- and medium-sized enterprises. In the process of building a common market with free movement of workers, ASEAN needs to reduce development gaps and enhance the capacity of CLMV members (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam), through the Initiative for ASEAN Integration and the ASEAN Framework for Equitable Economic Development. 

Addressing the meeting, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc highlighted the crucial role of AIPA member legislatures and law-makers in ASEAN connectivity, especially in supporting the realisation of targets set in the ASEAN Vision 2025 – particularly two major goals of building a truly “rule-based” and “people-oriented and people-centred” community. The Prime Minister proposed that the AIPA accelerate the approval and implementation of ASEAN legal documents and agreements. He also said he hopes to see the promotion of coordination between executive and legislative authorities. – VNS


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