|Vice Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Tong Thi Phong speaks at the the first plenary session of APPF-26.
The meeting takes place at a time when the world is witnessing rapid, complex, and unpredictable changes, which can impact peace and stability in many regions, said Vice Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Tong Thi Phong in her opening remarks.
For this reason, the first plenary session should focus discussions on the role of parliamentary diplomacy in addressing challenges to peace, security and prosperity in the region and over the world, and on combating international terrorism and trans-boundary crime, said Phong, who is chair of the meeting.
Phong shared her concern over regional conflicts and tensions that continue to pose more pressing challenges to the effort to maintain peace and development for each region.
She also mentioned the rising trend of useing destructive weapons, disputes over territories, islands and resources, alongside terrorism and trans-boundary crimes.
In addition, the Vietnamese legislator reiterated growing extreme nationalism, utilitarianism and protectionism and challenges brought by the fourth industrial revolution.
“These issues require solutions at the national, regional and global level. They also require a multi-tier cooperation approach, including our active participation, as parliamentarians, as policy makers, and as legislators of nations following a quarter of a decade of development,” she stressed.
Phong called on the APPF parliaments to give active support to the historic nuclear weapon test ban, signed in September 2017, so it can soon be ratified.
“We should urge our Governments to promote more effective cooperation to respond to both traditional and non-traditional challenges, particularly non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, combat terrorism, trans-boundary crime, ensure water, food, and energy security, promote maritime safety and security, and cyber security,’ she added.
The Vice Chairwoman also urged the Asia-Pacific to take the lead in maintaining peace and stability, promoting dialogues, cooperation, confidence building, and respecting international law and common standards and norms.
“Parliamentary diplomacy, particularly APPF activities, play an indispensable role in promoting cooperation, building legislative frameworks, deciding on and monitoring the implementation of Governments’ international commitments,’ Phong stressed.
The first session discussed the promotion of parliamentary diplomacy for peace, security and prosperity in the region and the world, along with the fight against international terrorism and trans-border crime.
Delegates stressed the importance of equality for common development, and mutual support to address security issues and to implement the Paris agreement on climate change.
They pointed to risks posed by increasing trade protectionism and called on support and cooperation among the APPF members for trade liberalisation. Parliamentary diplomacy to end human rights violation and the settlement of the Korean Peninsula were also among the deliberated topics.
Lasting until January 21, the APPF-26 features four plenary sessions on the topics of politics-security, economics-trade, regional cooperation in Asia-Pacific, and the future of APPF.
Founded in Tokyo, Japan in 1993, the APPF now gathers 27 members, namely Australia, Cambodia, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, the US and Vietnam.
It is a mechanism that enables parliamentarians to discuss issues of common concern, and to deepen their understanding of the region and the interests and experience of its diverse members. The forum’s proceedings address political, security, economic, social and cultural issues, thus furthering regional cooperation and building relations between and among parliamentarians from the Asia-Pacific region.