FM Son made the appeal while attending the 11th East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting via a videoconference on August 4, as part of the 54th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings.
Those in attendance at the event were foreign ministers of ASEAN member states and EAS’s partner countries, including China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, India, Russia and the US.
In his address, Minister Bui Thanh Son hailed the EAS’s contributions to promoting peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region, and affirmed the consistent principle stance of ASEAN and Vietnam on the East Sea issue.
He underscored the importance of dialogue, cooperation, trust-building, and self-restraint to take no actions that complicate the situation and do not harm the marine environment.
All disputes must be settled through peaceful means in line with international law and the 1982 UNCLOS, the Vietnamese diplomat said, while calling for greater efforts by all parties to finalise an efficient and effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in accordance with international law and the 1982 UNCLOS.
The 1982 UNCLOS is the legal basis covering all activities in seas and oceans, Son stressed, adding that the legitimate rights and interests of coastal states as stipulated in the Convention must be respected.
He also pointed out that Vietnam has sufficient historical evidence and legal basis to assert its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos.
During the meeting, countries consented to work closely together to actively carry out results of the 15th EAS last year, especially the Hanoi Declaration marking the EAS’s 15th founding anniversary.
They emphasized the need to further uphold the EAS's role and strategic value as well as improve its response to complex and uncertain difficulties and challenges in the region and the world.
Amid the complicated developments of COVID-19 pandemic, participants pledged to continue upholding multilateral approach, step up regional and global cooperation in effectively coping with the pandemic, and joining hands to promote comprehensive recovery towards sustainable development.
They vowed to complete the Manila Plan of Action for the 2018-2022 period and work out a new plan for the next period on the basis of priorities suitable with the new situation, making positive contributions to recovery and growth efforts.
EAS countries pledged to help ASEAN improve the capacity of preventive medicine, vaccine research and development, and ensure safe, effective and fair distribution of vaccines.
ASEAN asked EAS nations to support the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund, make contributions to the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergencies and help the bloc implement the Comprehensive Recovery Framework.
On the East Sea issue, they laid stress on closer coordination to ensure peace, stability, security and safety of navigation and aviation, build the waters into an area of peace, friendship and cooperation, and the settlement of disputes via peaceful means on the basis of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The countries called on ASEAN and China to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) towards building an effective and efficient Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in line with international law, including the UNCLOS.
Brunei, Chairman of the EAS, is set to issue a Chairman's Statement on the outcome of the meeting.