ASEAN Ministers examine community building efforts, East Sea issue

VOV.VN - ASEAN Foreign Ministers met virtually on October 4 to review the ASEAN Community building process, the bloc’s cooperation with its dialogue partners, the East Sea issue, and a number of issues of mutual concern.

According to the ministers, maintaining ASEAN solidarity and unity is the key to ensuring the success of the ASEAN Community building process and promoting the bloc’s central role in the region.

They agreed to continue to encourage ASEAN’s partners to make constructive contributions to the common goal of peace, security and stability in the region, support ASEAN’s central role, and get involved in regional cooperation through ASEAN-led mechanisms, in order to build an open, inclusive, transparent and international law-based regional architecture.

They discussed and agreed on the mode of cooperation between ASEAN and the United Kingdom, the latest ASEAN dialogue partner. The two sides will then establish a joint committee to strengthen cooperation through meetings of their senior officials and Foreign Ministers, with Brunei working as the coordinator of the ASEAN - UK relations in the 2021- 2024 period.

On the East Sea issue, the ministers emphasized the need to promote a sense of responsibility, have a common voice in issues related to regional peace, security and stability in the region, and enhance confidence building measures in order to settle disputes by peaceful means, in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Exchanging views on the situation in Myanmar, the ministers agreed to step up humanitarian support for the country in the face of the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. They welcomed the September 15 delivery of the first humanitarian assistance package including medical equipment worth US$1.1 million, and requested that Myanmar facilitate the ASEAN Special Envoy’s activities, aimed at promoting dialogue and finding peaceful solutions to the situation.

Addressing the meeting, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son highly appreciated Brunei’s role as ASEAN Chairman in maintaining regional cooperation during this difficult period. He affirmed that Vietnam has actively participated in implementing the priority issues for 2021 and will work closely with the host to ensure the success of the upcoming Summits.

He welcomed the achievements recorded in the ASEAN Community building process, and suggested ASEAN further strengthen coordination and improve its capacity to address challenges such as COVID-19, climate change, and marine issues, so as to bring direct and practical results to ASEAN and its citizens.

As Vietnam is one of the three ASEAN countries that are making efforts to independently research and produce vaccines, Son proposed that ASEAN improve its vaccine self-reliance through building a regional vaccine supply chain.

Vietnam will coordinate with other countries to promote the early establishment and operation of the ASEAN Center for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED), said the diplomat.

He also underlined the need for ASEAN to focus its efforts on supporting groups of people and regions, including sub-regions, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as supporting industries in their recovery process.

On this occasion, Son announced Vietnam’s plan to host the ASEAN Forum on Sub-Region Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Inclusive Growth on November 30, 2021 in Hanoi.

Regarding the East Sea issue, Minister Son reaffirmed the importance of promoting trust, exercising restraint, and peacefully settling disputes in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS.

ASEAN should continue to closely coordinate with China to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and the formulation of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in line with international law, he said.