Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyễn Quốc Dũng, ASEAN Seniors Officials Meeting (SOM) leader of Việt Nam speaks at an international press conference on Monday. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang
HÀ NỘI — The 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-53) and related meetings will take place from Wednesday to Saturday under the chairmanship of Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh.
The meetings would be held as a teleconference, said Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyễn Quốc Dũng, ASEAN Seniors Officials Meeting (SOM) leader of Việt Nam at an international press conference on Monday.
AMM 53 and related meetings were some of the most important conferences of the 2020 ASEAN Chairmanship, he said.
The meetings occur amid complicated developments in the region and the world due to fierce competition between large countries and increasing tension.
Although ASEAN co-operation had been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Việt Nam had been doing its utmost to fulfil the ASEAN Chairmanship mandate, Dũng said.
The country had proposed many initiatives, maintaining and promoting cooperation in pandemic prevention and control as well as community building, strengthening the ASEAN partnership and its central role, he said.
At this week’s meetings, foreign ministers would review the realisation of the priorities and initiatives for 2020 and conduct mid-term evaluations of the master plans for implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
They would also discuss the implementation of the ASEAN Charter and formation of the post-2025 ASEAN Community Vision.
“With the participation of 28 delegations from four continents and different time zones, the organisation of this meeting is a big challenge for the ASEAN chair,” he said.
However, Việt Nam has tried to harmonise and handle requests of the parties while ensuring the conference’s continuity and ASEAN practices at the same time.
It is expected that 40 documents will be adopted, including the AMM-53 Joint Communique and the Hà Nội Plan of Action of the ASEAN Regional Forum to charter orientations for the forum’s cooperation in 2020-2025.
When asked about the possibility of setting up new partnership between ASEAN and its partners within the AMM-53’s framework, deputy FM Dũng said as ASEAN’s role had been enhanced in the international arena, the bloc had received proposals from countries at three levels.
ASEAN has three partnership levels, namely full dialogue partnership, dialogue partnership and development partnership.
These proposals would be reviewed by the ASEAN Secretariat and mulled over by AMM-53 and then submitted to the ASEAN Summit later this year, he said.
Regarding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Dũng said the RCEP had been one of the priorities of the bloc.
As chairman of ASEAN, Việt Nam had actively stepped up negotiations for signing the agreement later this year, he said, adding that the country expected the deals would be signed at ASEAN ministers’ meetings, especially those discussing economic affairs.
In response to a question regarding negotiations on a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), Deputy FM said the COC continued to be a priority for both ASEAN and China.
Due to the pandemic, talks on the issue had been delayed.
“Given the nature of a COC, it’s very difficult to negotiate online, however, we have a few online meetings which discussed ways to resume negotiations as well as upcoming goals,” Dũng said, adding that ASEAN and China have reached a number of points and shared a desire to resume the negotiations soon. — VNS