FM Bui Thanh Son attends 29th ARF in Phnom Penh

Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son attended the 29th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) that took place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on August 5 within the framework of the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-55), and held several bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the event. ​

Participants affirmed the ARF is the most important forum of ASEAN to promote dialogue and mutual understanding. They reviewed the operation and proposed development orientations of the forum in the time to come.

The attending foreign ministers welcomed the implementation of trust-building activities and preventive diplomacy, through which trust was enhanced and cooperation expanded.

They agreed to give priority to cooperation in the areas of disaster relief, terrorism and transnational crime combat, maritime security, defence, peacekeeping, counter-proliferation of nuclear weapons, and disarmament, and agreed on a list of activities for the 2022-2023 period. Vietnam will co-chair a number of activities related to the implementation of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), health security, security, and nuclear safety.

Participants spent much time discussing many regional and international issues. Sharing common concerns, FM Son emphasised the importance of dialogue, goodwill cooperation and responsible contributions for the common goal of peace, security, stability and development. 

Affirming ASEAN's principled stance on the East Sea issue, the Vietnamese FM stressed the importance of ensuring peace, security, stability as well as safety and freedom of navigation and overflight in the waters. He called for the building of the East Sea into a sea of peace, stability and cooperation. ASEAN and China should continue to make efforts to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and soon achieve an effective, efficient Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS 1982, he said.

Regarding the recent developments in the region, Son reiterated the stances of ASEAN and Vietnam, calling on all parties to exercise restraint, avoid complicating the situation, and resolve differences and disputes by peaceful means in compliance with international law, the UN Charter and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).

The Vietnamese FM said that ASEAN will maintain its engagement with Myanmar, promote the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus reached by the ASEAN Leaders for the benefit of the people of Myanmar and for peace, stability and development in the region.

The event closed with the adoption of ARF Declarations on promoting peace and stability through trust-building measures and preventive diplomacy, maintaining the nuclear-weapons-free Southeast Asia , along with an ARF Framework Document on inclusive processes for preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution.

The 29th ARF is the last activity of Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and partners within the AMM-55 and related meetings in Phnom Penh.

Also on August 5, FM Son had meetings with his counterparts from the US, the Republic of Korea, Australia and Timor Leste.

At their meeting, FM Son and his US counterpart Antony Blinken highly valued the outcomes of meetings between leaders of the two countries, which they said created an impetus for the Vietnam-US comprehensive partnership. They agreed to work closely in organising activities to mark the 30th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic ties. They also agreed to increase the exchange of delegations at all levels and to strengthen the exploitation of trade and investment potential of each side, and foster partnership in overcoming war aftermaths.

The two ministers pledged to coordinate at regional and international forums on issues of shared concern, including cooperation with the ASEAN and Mekong sub-region, the settlement of disputes in line with international law, maritime capacity building and human rights promotion.

FM Son reached agreement with the Republic of Korea Foreign Minister Park Jil on the focus of cooperation in the time ahead, which is exchanging delegations at all levels, especially high-level and upgrading the bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership. The two sides affirmed to strengthen cooperation at international forums and in regional security issues such as the East Sea, water security of the Mekong River, and climate change. Son suggested that the two sides restart bilateral cooperation mechanisms, including the strategic dialogue on politics, security and defence.

Meanwhile, Son and Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong affirmed during their meeting that they will work closely together for the celebration of the 50th founding anniversary of the Vietnam-Australia diplomatic relations.

The Vietnamese FM proposed that the two sides increase cooperation in high-quality infrastructure, sustainable use and management of water resources, climate change response, high-tech agriculture and human resources development. The Australian side affirmed that it will continue to cooperate with Vietnam and ASEAN to promote sustainable development of the Mekong sub-region, initially through the Vietnam - Australia - Laos tripartite cooperation project. FM Son confirmed that he will make an official visit to Australia and co-chair the fourth Vietnam - Australia Foreign Ministers' Meeting.

Meeting with Timor Leste's Minister of Foreign Affairs Adaljiza Albertina Xavier Reis Magno, Son agreed to coordinate with Timor Leste in implementing agreements such as the Framework Agreement on Technical and Economic Cooperation, the Trade Agreement, and those on cooperation in agriculture, health care, small and medium-sized enterprises development, tourism and people-to-people exchanges. FM Son suggested Timor Leste create favourable conditions for Vietnamese businesses, especially Viettel/Telemor to do business in the country. He affirmed that Vietnam is willing to share experiences with and support Timor Leste in joining the ASEAN.