Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc (fifth, from right) and other leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit in Bangkok on Sunday. VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất
BANGKOK – Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and other leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) joined Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit in Bangkok on Sunday.
At the summit, the leaders underlined the importance of the ASEAN-China strategic partnership for peace, security, stability and prosperity in the region.
They reiterated efforts to promote dialogues and cooperation as well as building trust and soon finalising the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).
The leaders also stressed the need to maintain peace, security, stability, freedom and safety of navigation and aviation in the East Sea and to refrain from actions that complicate the situation.
They agreed to abide by international laws, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS), implement seriously and fully the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and strive to build the East Sea into a region of peace, stability and cooperation.
Participants also welcomed the close economic ties between ASEAN and China, with China being the largest trading partner of ASEAN for the past 10 consecutive years and a leading investor of the bloc.
ASEAN and Chinese leaders emphasised their commitments to promoting multilateralism, supporting trade-investment liberalisation, and strengthening a rule-based equal multilateral international trading system.
They vowed to contribute to the completion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as scheduled.
Under the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030 approved in 2018, a pledge was made to promote cooperation in the fields of common interest such as trade and investment exchanges, including the effective implementation of the protocol to amend the ASEAN-China free trade agreement.
The two sides agreed to strive for a two-way trade of US$1 trillion and investment of $150 billion by 2020.
They agreed to enhance connectivity between the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 and China’s “one belt, one road” initiative, in addition to expanding people-to-people exchange and cooperation in tourism, innovation, e-commerce and digital economy.
Addressing the event, PM Phúc said ASEAN always attached great importance to the role of China in endeavours to maintain peace, security and stability for development cooperation and prosperity in the region.
He voiced support for the designation of 2020 as a digital economic cooperation year between ASEAN and China.
Regarding the East Sea issue, the PM said "maintaining peace, security and stability in the world’s arterial maritime route is the responsibility of all nations for mutual benefits".
He reiterated the clear and consistent viewpoints of Việt Nam on the East Sea situation, which have been presented at forums at various levels.
He urged the involved parties to step up efforts at both bilateral and multilateral levels to promote compliance with international law, including the (UNCLOS), as well as prevent the repetition of actions that run counter to international law, while creating a favourable environment for building rules and trust, promoting dialogues, and peacefully solving differences based on international law.
The PM also suggested implementing seriously and fully the DOC and maximising efforts to finalise the effective COC in line with international law and with the support of the international community.
Concluding the event, the two sides agreed to adopt three documents, including the ASEAN-China Leaders' Statement on Smart City Cooperation Initiative, the Joint Statement on Strengthening Media Exchanges and Cooperation between ASEAN and China, and the ASEAN-China Joint Statement on Synergising the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
ASEAN-India strategic partnership
PM Phúc shared other leaders’ views on the progress in the ASEAN-India strategic partnership at a summit between the two sides in Bangkok the same day.
At the event, they welcomed India’s Act East Policy and active support for ASEAN’s central role and efforts to boost regional connectivity and build a community.
India PM Narendra Modi said his country was strongly committed to ASEAN, stressing the bloc is at the centre of India’s Act East Policy and Indo-Pacific outlook, and also strongly supports the Indo-Pacific outlook of ASEAN.
At the summit, the participants noted that economic relations between ASEAN and India have been growing well over the past years with bilateral trade hitting $80.8 billion and India’s direct investment in ASEAN reaching $1.7 billion in 2018. Besides, cooperation has been strengthened in multiple spheres, bringing about practical benefits to the peoples and businesses of the two sides.
They agreed to continue promoting effective cooperation in the spirit of the Delhi Declaration, adopted at the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit to mark the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-India dialogue relations, particularly in the fields of trade-investment, marine cooperation and marine security ensuring, road and sea transport infrastructure connection and development, innovation, digital economy, adaptation to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, people-to-people exchange and tourism.
They also welcomed economic ministers’ decision to launch review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement to tap into the market of more than two billion people.
The leaders said there would be coordination to speed up and finalise negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on schedule.
PM Phúc shared other participants’ view on the developments in the ASEAN-India strategic partnership in recent years.
He highlighted that as both sides would enter a new phase of cooperation in 2020 with the Plan of Action for 2021-25, they should further enhance fruitful connections in the areas of common concern and benefits like sea-based economy, development of human resources to meet requirements in the digital economy, and tourism. — VNS