|Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh joined other leaders at the 10th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. VNA/VNS Photo Lâm Khánh
HÀ NỘI — Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Asian and Western counterparts have agreed to continue to strengthen cooperation in priority areas, including environment, energy, disease, disaster management, food security and marine cooperation.
They made the statement on Wednesday at a foreign ministerial session of the East Asia Summit that involves the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, South Korea, China, Japan, the United States, Russia, Australia, New Zealand and India.
The ministers affirmed the importance of the EAS as a forum for leaders to discuss regional strategic issues and acknowledged progress made in the implementation of the Manila Action Plan for 2018-2022.
The ministers emphasised that in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and complicated developments, it was necessary for the EAS countries to push up practical cooperation, improve capacity to respond, and minimise negative impacts of the pandemic and promoting regional sustainable recovery.
ASEAN nations recommended that the EAS partners with their strengths support ASEAN to improve the capacity of preventive medicine, coordinate information sharing, exchange of experience in treatment, research and vaccine production, minimising socio-economic impacts and promoting sustainable growth.
It was agreed that after 15 years of establishment, the EAS is now facing new opportunities and challenges in the context of unprecedented complex changes in the regional situation. Thus, countries should work closely, chart orientations to strengthen the EAS in the new phase to positively contribute to maintaining peace, security and prosperity and effectively respond to emerging challenges.
At the forum, South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha has called for international support for an early resumption of dialogue with North Korea and renewed South Korea's "firm" will to push for inter-Korean cooperation,Yonhap news agency reported.
"For the faithful implementation of the agreements and the early resumption of dialogue, Minister Kang called for support from the international community, including the EAS," the foreign ministry said, referring to the agreements from two inter-Korean summits in 2018 and the first-ever US-North Korea summit the same year.
Kang also stressed the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, and called for a dialogue-based peaceful resolution of territorial disputes in the strategic waterway.
Dialogues with partners
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh attended the ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers Meeting and meetings with counterparts from China, the Republic of Korea and Japan which were held online within the framework of the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM 53) and related meetings on Wednesday.
At the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting, the ministers shared the view that the strategic partnership between ASEAN and China has brought about practical benefits to both sides.
The two sides agreed to step up cooperation in priority areas such as digital economic development, cyber security, natural disaster response, people-to-people exchange and maritime collaboration, while pushing ahead with the building of the ASEAN-China action plan for 2021-2025.
Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China is willing to work with them to actively promote exchange and cooperation in the post-pandemic period, face global and regional challenges together, and foster a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future, reported Xinhua news agency.
At the 21st ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Minh said this was the time for the ASEAN+3 mechanism to prove its value and capacity in the fight against the pandemic, and suggested China, Japan and the RoK continue their coordination with ASEAN in this regard, towards sustainable regional recovery.
The ministers consented to continue implementing the resolutions adopted by leaders at the Special ASEAN+3 Summit on COVID-19, and committed to enhancing cooperation in food security via the ASEAN+3 Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR), digital transformation, regional financial and economic stability through the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM) Agreement, and health care.
They were also resolved to soon conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi pledged on Wednesday to disburse US$1 million in a new fund aimed at assisting the bloc's response to the novel coronavirus pandemic through the procurement of medical supplies and the development of vaccines.
Motegi also said Japan would provide Southeast Asian countries with healthcare equipment and extend emergency yen loans to help their post-pandemic economic recovery, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
Meanwhile, during the ASEAN-RoK Ministerial Meeting, the two sides affirmed their resolve to enhance cooperation to consolidate the strategic partnership.
The ministers approved the action plan between ASEAN and the RoK for 2021-2025.
In the discussions, the ministers of China, Japan and RoK expressed their desire for strengthening the cooperation among the sides, their high valuation of ASEAN’s effective response to COVID-19, and readiness to support ASEAN’s initiatives against the pandemic.
Speaking at the meetings, Minh asked the partner countries to continue supporting ASEAN in the building of the Community, and proposed to intensify the cooperation among the sides in the research and production of vaccines and medicines against COVID-19.
On the international and regional situation, Minh expressed his concerns on the complicated development in the East Sea while states are focusing their efforts against the pandemic. Legitimate rights and interests of the sides must be ensured, and differences and disputes settled on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, he stressed.— VNS