Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (eighth, right) and other leaders at the 22nd ASEAN Plus Three Summit in Bangkok on November 4 . — VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất
BANGKOK — The East Sea issue was among focuses of the 14th East Asia Summit (EAS) on Monday afternoon, part of the 35th ASEAN Summit.
Attendees said the EAS is a leading mechanism for dialogue on security in the region, noting the world is witnessing complex and swift developments.
Most of them agreed that the EAS, which covers half of the global population, must be brought into play to become a forum for leaders to discuss issues relevant to regional peace and stability.
The countries expressed their satisfaction with the implementation of the Manila Plan of Action to Advance the Phnom Penh Declaration on the EAS Development Initiative (2018-20), the adoption of the EAS leaders’ statement on co-operation to combat transnational crime, and the promotion of sustainable development.
They said the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific reflected ASEAN’s vision, principles and priorities. Meanwhile, the bloc’s partners expressed hope for concrete co-operation activities soon.
Addressing the summit, PM Phúc highlighted the significance of the EAS, a forum for leaders to dialogue for regional peace, stability and security.
He voiced his support for the EAS to foster adherence to international law and promote the formation of standards of conduct and frameworks for rules-based relations among countries.
The Vietnamese leader stated the East Sea situation has yet to be sustainable since there remain incidents that have stirred concern, run counter to international law, and may affect peace, stability, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation.
The PM asked countries to bolster dialogue, build trust, form and share standards of conduct for a water body of peace.
PM Phúc also attended the seventh ASEAN – US Summit in Bangkok on Monday.
Speaking at the event, the PM hailed the US as one of the longest-standing partners of ASEAN.
He said he hoped the US would support ASEAN’s central role in shaping regional rules-based architecture.
The PM also encouraged US investors to join infrastructure and energy development projects in ASEAN.
Highlighting the importance of the East Sea, through which US$3.4 trillion worth of goods pass annually, he reiterated ASEAN’s principled stance on the East Sea which was reaffirmed by ministers of foreign affairs in July, saying parties concerned are responsible for protecting peace, strengthening stability, promoting dialogues, and enhancing collaboration to build the East Sea into an area of peace, co-operation and prosperity.
The leader expressed the commitment of Việt Nam, the next ASEAN Chair, to continuing pursuing ASEAN – US ties.
US national security advisor Robert C. O’Brien affirmed the US’s commitment to the region and welcomed the launch of the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific.
To help nations integrate more deeply, he said the US has proposed the Blue Dot Network initiative that will set standards for big infrastructure projects.
The US also promises to work with ASEAN in mechanisms formed and led by the bloc, he added.
On regional and global issues, he reaffirmed the US stance, opposing acts that hinder legal economic operations in the sea, not respecting sovereignty and international law in the East Sea. He said the US hoped ASEAN would stay united while parties concerned will exercise restraint to peacefully settle disputes.
ASEAN countries reaffirmed their support for trade liberalisation, respect for law and responsible behaviour. They called on powers to exercise restraint and not let differences, especially in trade, harm the regional environment.
On the sidelines of the 35th ASEAN Summit, PM Phúc met with his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern on Monday morning.
The two leaders agreed that 2020 will be a year lifting Việt Nam-New Zealand and ASEAN-New Zealand relations to a new height.
They agreed to continue considering the facilitation of their countries’ exports to increase bilateral trade.
PM Phúc asked New Zealand to share experience in developing clean food chains and give support in terms of techniques and procedures for Vietnamese farm produce to enter its market.
In a separate meeting with PM Narendra Modi on the same day, PM Phúc and his Indian counterpart agreed to promote bilateral economic-trade ties, while removing barriers and boosting co-operation in defence, oil and gas, agriculture, health care, culture and tourism.
Regarding the East Sea, the two PMs affirmed their stance it is necessary to maintain an environment of peace and security, ensuring legitimate rights of the coastal countries in line with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. —VNS