|Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyễn Quốc Dũng delivers a speech at the meeting. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam treasures and will make positive contributions to the ASEAN-EU strategic partnership, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyễn Quốc Dũng, head of SOM ASEAN Việt Nam, said at the annual ASEAN-EU Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) that was held online on Thursday.
The event aimed to discuss regional and global issues of shared concern and make preparations for the ASEAN – EU Post Ministerial Conference scheduled for August.
The Vietnamese official suggested the EU help ensure ASEAN’s timely and even access to vaccines, offer assistance in technology transfer and increase vaccine production in the region while coordinating to step up economic recovery and growth, as well as green and sustainable development.
He asked the EU to continue its involvement and make constructive contributions to ASEAN’s efforts to cope with challenges to regional security and stability.
Reaffirming ASEAN’s principled stance on the East Sea issue, deputy minister Dũng proposed the EU continue supporting ASEAN’s efforts to maintain peace, security and safety in the East Sea, realise the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and complete negotiations on a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in line with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Countries welcomed ASEAN and EU’s official upgrade of ties to the strategic partnership level and noted the importance of the “partnership in connectivity” between the two blocs. They pledged to enhance multilateral cooperation and promote free and equitable trade.
Head of the SOM EU Gunnar Wiegan said the EU wants to promote the strategic partnership with ASEAN and pledged the EU's support for ASEAN’s central role in the regional architecture.
The EU representative vowed to continue strengthening solidarity with ASEAN to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic together.
ASEAN member states suggested the EU support ASEAN’s initiatives regarding COVID-19 prevention and control as well as coordinate with ASEAN to ensure fair access to vaccines and safe and effective research and development of vaccines.
Both sides agreed to work closely together to fight COVID-19, promote recovery and realise the ASEAN-EU Plan of Action for 2018-2022.
The EU proposed prioritising economic recovery, trade, sustainable connectivity, climate change and green growth.
The EU officials suggested holding a commemorative summit marking the 45th anniversary of ASEAN-EU relations next year in Belgium.
On regional and global issues, both sides highlighted the need to ensure an environment of peace, security and safety in the region, helping countries to cope with the pandemic.
They underscored the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, maritime and aviation safety and freedom in the East Sea. They expressed support for dialogue, building trust, self-restraint, refraining from actions that complicate the situation or increase tension, avoiding militarisation, and settling disputes by peaceful means in line with international law.
The two sides expressed support for efforts to resume negotiations to reach an effective and efficient COC in accordance with international law and the 1982 UNCLOS.
The EU side backed ASEAN’s efforts on the Myanmar situation and welcomed the Five-Point Consensus adopted at the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting in April.
Concluding the event, Singapore, coordinator of the ASEAN-EU relations, and the EU issued the Co-Chairs’ Press Release on the outcomes of the meeting. — VNS