|Leaders of 10 ASEAN countries at the bloc’s 32nd Summit. — VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất|Viet Nam News
SINGAPORE — The 32nd summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) officially opened in Singapore on April 28 morning.
In opening the event, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, ASEAN Chair in 2018, said the bloc is entering a new phase of development in the context of rapid changes in regional and international situation, prompting the need to continue strengthening ASEAN’s unity and upholding its central role.
He announced that ASEAN leaders had adopted the ASEAN Leaders’ Vision for a Resilient and Innovative ASEAN, the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on Cybersecurity Cooperation and the Concept Note of the ASEAN Smart Cities Network.
During the retreat meeting, leaders of the ASEAN member states again laid stress on the importance of solidarity and unity to the bloc, asserting that a resilient ASEAN is key to help the association maintain its central role in the region and develop balanced win-win relations with its partners towards success in building an open, transparent and rule-based regional architecture.
On the occasion, the leaders lauded the success of the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit in January and the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in March. They reached consensus on a plan on activities to mark the 15th anniversary of ASEAN-China strategic ties and 45 years of ASEAN-Japan dialogue relations this year.
Also, they welcomed the positive developments on the Korean peninsula, and appreciated the timely release of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ statement on developments in the Korean peninsula, saying that they are looking forwards to peaceful and sustainable solutions to the denuclearisation on the peninsula.
The leaders reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the East Sea, along with the need to exercise self-restraint and avoid unilateral actions that may further complicate the situation, and to pursue the peaceful settlement of disputes on the basis of respect for international law and for diplomatic and legal processes.
They called for the serious implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and efforts to complete a Code of Conduct (COC), holding that an effective and binding COC will play an important role in ensuring a transparent and rule-based regional architecture and a peaceful and stable East Sea.
Addressing the summit, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc shared the view that ASEAN needs to maintain its central role in the region through strengthening the bloc’s collective resilience, solidarity and unity. The bloc should bring into play its role as the locomotive in bolstering economic linkage in the region, he said.
He joined ASEAN leaders in welcoming the positive outcomes of the inter-Korea summit on April 27, hailing it as a new important step forward in the process of denuclearisation in the Korean peninsula.
Regarding the East Sea issue, the Vietnamese Government leader said that the bloc must continue upholding basic principles and maintain its agreed stance, while making efforts to push the building of an effective and legally-binding COC for sustainable peace and stability in the East Sea.
Singapore is the Chair of ASEAN in 2018. The bloc groups 10 Southeast Asian nations, which are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Việt Nam. — VNS