Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh chairs the international press conference. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — A total of 42 documents were adopted throughout the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings held from September 9-12 via video conference, a record for such meetings.
The figure was announced by Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh at a press conference in Ha Noi on Saturday following the conclusion of the meetings.
Minh said AMM 53 had been a success, showing ASEAN’s responsiveness and determination that helped Viet Nam organise the video conferences amid the complex developments of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the framework of AMM 53, the ASEAN foreign ministers, guests and partners attended 19 meetings, including AMM 53, the Special Session of the ASEAN Coordinating Council Meeting on Sub-regional Development, the 10th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Interface with ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) Representatives, the ASEAN Ministerial Dialogue on Strengthening Women’s Role for Sustainable Peace and Security, and the 27th ASEAN Regional Forum.
The 42 documents adopted include the Joint Communique' of AMM 53 and the ARF Hanoi Plan of Action II (2020-2025).
The ASEAN Foreign Ministers showed their determination and commitment to implementing goals and priorities in the spirit of a 'Cohesive and Responsive' ASEAN 2020.
Efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic were also a focus, as ASEAN needs to support the people and businesses to overcome the consequences of the disease, recover the economy and return life to normal.
The ministers expressed determination to maintain Southeast Asia as a region of peace, security, neutrality and stability while strengthening ASEAN’s centrality, unity, resilience and promoting trust-building, mutual respect and the rule of law in line with the spirit of the Foreign Ministers' Statement on the occasion of marking the 53rd founding anniversary of ASEAN on August 8.
Participants discussed measures to strengthen the partnerships of ASEAN for peace and sustainable development. Partners continue to support the central role of ASEAN in shaping an open, inclusive, transparent and rules-based regional architecture.
They affirmed that ASEAN and partners will continue working together to respond to emerging challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and promoting comprehensive recovery.
ASEAN agreed to grant the status of development partnership to France and Italy while admitting Colombia and Cuba to ASEAN’s Treaty on Amity and Cooperation (TAC).
During the meetings, participants discussed non-traditional security challenges, such as terrorism, transnational crime, natural disasters and climate change, as well as international and regional issues of common concern.
The ministers reiterated the importance and benefits of peace, security, stability and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, for the common benefits of all countries and supported by ASEAN partners.
They said the parties need to promote dialogue, build trust and refrain from acts that complicate the situation, and avoid militarisation, use or threat to use force and settle disputes through peaceful measures based on international law.
They expressed the hope the Declaration on Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea (DOC) will be fully and effectively implemented and urged parties to soon finalise an effective code of conduct (COC).
ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi spoke highly of Việt Nam’s preparations and the outcomes of AMM 53, with the greatest number of documents adopted within the framework of ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meetings so far.
“Digital meetings, video conferences do not stop us create an environment to produce one of the most productive meetings of ASEAN foreign ministers,” he said, adding “this is the testament that we are able to do this with no face-to-face meetings.”
Minh said, as the ASEAN Chair 2020, Việt Nam is preparing for the 37th ASEAN Summit slated for November this year, though the developments of the COVID-19 pandemic are unpredictable.
Việt Nam is exerting utmost efforts to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, Minh said, expressing his hope that ASEAN nations and partners will overcome the pandemic so ASEAN foreign ministers can meet face-to-face at the upcoming 37th ASEAN Summit. — VNS