PM Nguyễn Xuân Phúc (5th from right) and other leaders of ASEAN countries launch the satellite warehouse under the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA) at the opening ceremony of the 34th ASEAN Summit yesterday in Thailand. — VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất
BANGKOK — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and other ASEAN leaders attended the opening ceremony of the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, yesterday.
In his opening remarks, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand, which holds the ASEAN Chair in 2019, reviewed the formation and development of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), noting that during this process, the bloc had proved itself important to helping its members swiftly recover from and overcome many challenges like financial crises and natural disasters.
ASEAN was now a peaceful region with mutual respect, he said, noting that a strong and united ASEAN was the main factor to ensuring stability and development in the region.
With the ASEAN Chairmanship 2019’s theme “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”, the grouping is looking towards the dream of building a community that is oriented towards the people, centres on the people and leaves no one behind.
It also aimed to maintain peace, stability and look towards the future; capitalise on opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to promote the digital economy and green growth; enhance relations with partners to develop sustainably and gain a higher global stature for ASEAN; and step up connectivity in all fields towards a seamless ASEAN, the Thai PM said.
The host leader added Thailand would continue the work of the previous ASEAN Chair holding countries while promoting concrete initiatives, including those to strengthen security, foster prosperity and increase people-to-people exchanges.
At the opening ceremony, PM Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and other ASEAN leaders together launched the ASEAN satellite warehouse in Chainat province of Thailand under the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN. The facility will help with the rapid mobilisation and distribution of relief items to disaster-hit areas in member countries.
PM Phúc on Saturday joined other ASEAN leaders at the plenary session of the 34th ASEAN Summit, discussing and measures to build a sustainable international community.
The leaders agreed on the need to ensure security based on the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and ASEAN’s vision on the Indo-Pacific. They highlighted the need to maintain the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)'s central role and tackle trans-national challenges, especially cyber security and border management.
The leaders agreed to further promote intra-bloc trade and implement the ASEAN Single Window mechanism and the ASEAN Smart Cities Network, foster the digital economy and actively prepare for Industry 4.0. They also agreed to conclude negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year.
On social and cultural matters, they decided to choose 2019 as the ASEAN Cultural Year to enhance cultural exchanges and promote the unique cultural identities of member nations. They said the member countries will together build a sustainable, people-centred ASEAN Community that looks towards the future and leaves no one behind and work together to deal with marine waste and ageing populations.
As Viet Nam will become the ASEAN Chair next year, PM Phuc delivered a speech at the plenum. He praised the theme “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability” and the priorities proposed by Thailand during its ASEAN Chairmanship in 2019.
He said ASEAN needs to give top priority to strengthening its solidarity and cohesion and promoting the central role of ASEAN-led regional mechanisms.
The bloc should foster economic links, follow through on previous commitments and create a favourable business environment. They discussed the need to adapt to Industry 4.0 to make the most of its opportunities.
The Vietnamese PM also said ASEAN should improve co-operation in fields that will bring practical benefits to the people and speed institutional reforms to increase efficiency.
The summit adopted the ASEAN Leaders’ Vision Statement on Partnership for Sustainability, the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on the ASEAN Cultural Year 2019 and the Bangkok Declaration on fighting maritime waste in the region.
PM Phúc had separate meetings with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the sidelines of the 34th ASEAN Summit.
At the meeting with his Thai counterpart, PM Phuc once again congratulated Prayut Chan-o-cha on his election.
The two PMs expressed their satisfaction with recent improvements in bilateral relations, agreeing to work together to create a foundation for the implementation of the Việt Nam-Thailand strategic partnership.
They agreed to push the implementation of bilateral co-operation mechanisms in 2019, especially the fourth joint cabinet meeting in Việt Nam.
The PMs said they are determined to promote economic ties and realise the goal of US$20 billion in two-way trade next year with more balanced trade between the two nations.
They also emphasised the importance of improving road and waterway connectivity between Việt Nam and Thailand, as well as with other countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region, to boost trade and tourism.
PM Phuc thanked Thailand for its warm welcome and expressed his belief that Thailand will make active contributions as ASEAN Chair this year towards building a strong, united ASEAN.
While meeting with the Indonesian leader, PM Phúc congratulated Joko Widodo on his re-election as President of Indonesia.
The two leaders reiterated their determination to realise the Việt Nam-Indonesia strategic partnership and implements agreements reached during the State visit to Việt Nam by President Widodo in September 2018.
They agreed to increase exchanges of delegations at all levels and enforce friendship, mutual understanding and trust, as well as build closer trade and investment ties.
PM Phúc suggested the two nations reduce trade barriers and make it easier for businesses to import goods
The PM asked Indonesia to deal with issues relating to Vietnamese fishermen in the spirit of friendship and line with international law and practices.
At the request of Singapore, PM Phúc received his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong. At the meeting, PM Phúc expressed dissatisfaction with Lee’s statement on May 31, 2019, relating to the history of Việt Nam and Cambodia in 1979 and 1980.
PM Phúc said history has proved that Lee’s assessment of Việt Nam's role at that time was incorrect and his repetition of misconceptions deeply hurt Việt Nam and Cambodia, especially the relatives of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers and experts who sacrificed their lives to bring peace and help liberate the Cambodian people from the genocidal Pol Pot regime, as well as those who assisted Cambodia during the later process of national construction.
Lee explained Singapore did not aim to hurt Việt Nam, but had recalled a sad chapter in the history of Indochina to emphasise that today’s peace, stability and prosperity in the region should be treasured and ASEAN must maintain solidarity and strong co-operation.
He also said Singapore attaches great importance to its friendly relations with Việt Nam and values its important contributions to maintaining peace, stability and development in the region.
The two PMs held that the meeting helped the two sides better understand each other and agreed to look towards the future and focus on promoting the Việt Nam - Singapore strategic partnership in all fields.
PM Phúc and the leaders of Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore agreed to promote the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and promptly finalise a Code of Conduct in the East Sea.
PM Phúc on Sunday also met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun-sen, Lao Prime Minister Thoongloun Sisoulith to discuss measures to promote cooperation in various areas between 3 countries, helping foster solidarity and prosperity of the ASEAN. — VNS