Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh chairs the online ASEAN-United Nations Ministerial Meeting on Wednesday. VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh chaired the online ASEAN-United Nations Ministerial Meeting on Wednesday with the participation of ASEAN foreign ministers, the President of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, and the UN Secretary-General.
President of the UN General Assembly’s 75th session Volkan Bozkir and UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasised that ASEAN was an indispensable partner, and the UN supported the bloc’s central role.
They also affirmed continued support for ASEAN in community building, and that the UN highly valued the effective leadership and coordination capacity of Việt Nam as ASEAN Chair in 2020 in concurrently enhancing ties in COVID-19 control and promoting community building.
Talking about efforts to contain COVID-19, the UN officials pledged more assistance for ASEAN to minimise the pandemic’s socio-economic impacts via jointly boosting inclusive, resilient and sustainable recovery and implementing the bloc’s comprehensive recovery framework.
The UN appreciated ASEAN’s contributions to ensuring regional and global peace and security, they noted, applauding contributions by Indonesia and Việt Nam, which are ASEAN representatives at the UN Security Council.
Besides, they highlighted the UN’s recognition of ASEAN’s efforts to empower women and contribute to UN peacekeeping operations, with an increasing rate of servicewomen and female officers.
At the meeting, participants approved the ASEAN-UN plan of action for 2021-2025, stressing the importance of technical assistance and multi-sectoral cooperation.
They held that the effective implementation of the mutual assistance roadmap for implementing the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development would practically contribute to sustainable development, ensure no one is left behind, and improve the fight against epidemics and response to emerging challenges.
Discussing the regional and global situation, they reiterated the importance of peace, stability, and security in the region, especially when threats from the COVID-19 pandemic to countries still linger.
Participants highlighted multilateral cooperation and pledged to continue making efforts to build a rules-based international order.
Officials once again underlined the goal of turning the East Sea into a sea area of peace, stability, security, and safety. They expressed readiness to promote trust building and carry out preventive diplomacy in the region on the basis of the UN Charter, international law, and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The meeting called for the full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), along with the early finalisation of an efficient and effective Code of Conduct (COC) that is in line with international law and the 1982 UNCLOS so that the COC will serve as a framework for all activities at sea.
Speaking at the event, Deputy PM and FM Minh spoke highly of the role of the UN – the centre for coordinating countries’ joint actions and international efforts to ensure peace and promote sustainable development.
Today’s ASEAN-UN relations had become a model for cooperation between the UN and other regional organisations, he said.
Representing Việt Nam – ASEAN Chair this year, he informed the UN officials about the bloc’s efforts in simultaneously building the community and curbing COVID-19 in the “Cohesive and Responsive” spirit.
On behalf of the bloc, Việt Nam proposed the UN support ASEAN’s initiatives on COVID-19 response and comprehensive recovery, including an ASEAN fund for COVID-19 response, a stockpile of medical supplies, a regional centre for public health emergencies, and the ASEAN comprehensive recovery framework.
Minh lauded ASEAN and the UN’s resolve to ensure the supply of COVID-19 vaccines at reasonable prices for all people.
In terms of the East Sea issue, the Deputy PM and FM repeated ASEAN’s consistent viewpoint that had been affirmed at the 36th ASEAN Summit in June and the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in September.
He emphasised the necessity to avoid actions that may escalate tensions, avoid militarisation, and ensure settlement of disputes by peaceful measures in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, and commitment to fully and effectively carrying out the DOC and continuing efforts to reach an efficient and effective COC that matches international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.
At the meeting, Việt Nam also informed participants about preparations for the 11th ASEAN-UN Summit this November and pledged to organise this event successfully.
PM welcomes UN officials
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc received UN Resident Coordinator Kamal Malhotra and chief representatives of UN organisations in Việt Nam on Wednesday.
Offering congratulations on the UN’s founding anniversary (October 24), PM Phúc said "Việt Nam always considers the UN as one of the priorities in its foreign policy and a leading important partner", noting that development and specialised organisations of the UN "are precious friends” who have greatly assisted the country during the hardships of the post-war period.
Việt Nam had managed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic early and had been making efforts to boost socio-economic development, he said, adding that this year, it might record a growth rate of 2-3 per cent to become the only nation to post positive economic growth in ASEAN and the fourth largest economy in the region.
Resident Coordinator Malhotra extended condolences to the Vietnamese Government and people on the heavy losses of life and property caused by floods and landslides in the central region.
He said the UN was sending its staff to join damage assessment teams to provide aid in affected localities.
The UN official thanked Việt Nam for its strong support for and valuable contributions to the UN and multilateralism, especially amid a number of challenges around the globe.
Appreciating the country’s contributions to climate change response efforts, Malhotra said as ASEAN Chair 2020, Việt Nam had been playing an important leadership role, including in coping with COVID-19.
The official also congratulated Việt Nam on its successful control of the COVID-19 outbreak and noted that the UN was a close partner of the country in responding to health issues, especially via the World Health Organisation (WHO), the UN Resident Coordinator Office, and other UN agencies.
On this occasion, he presented the Prime Minister with two recent UN reports: the UN Secretary-General’s global COVID-19 situation report and a report assessing the pandemic’s socio-economic impacts on Việt Nam.
He also expressed his hope for the early signing of the new UN sustainable development cooperation framework for 2022-2026 with the country. — VNS