|Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc chairs the plenary session of the summit
They attached importance to upholding ASEAN's principle stance toward ensuring peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation in the East Sea. Accordingly, ASEAN countries have been improving our mechanisms for dialogue, cooperating to build trust, and reinforcing an open, transparent and rules-based order.
The leaders stressed the need to continue to promote and uphold rules and norms of conduct, advance the relations among regional countries in the region in accordance with the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC).
They maintained that ASEAN observes and promotes the full and strict compliance to the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and is making every effort to establish an effective Code of Conduct (COC) in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Though the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the COC negotiations, the leaders said ASEAN should soon resume this process to affirm its central role and contribute to peace and stability in the region.
The leaders also touched upon the situation on the Korean peninsula and in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, emphasizing that ASEAN needs to step up support for local people in the Myanmar state to help them restore their lives and combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ASEAN leaders agreed to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) this year in an attempt to promote multilateral trade, trade and investment liberalization, and contribute to the post-COVID-19 recovery process in the region.
Some ASEAN leaders proposed easing travel restrictions to ensure uninterrupted circulation of goods and supply chains in the region, paving the way for the recovery process post COVID-19. They also sought ways to improve workers’ skills in the digital age, considering it an important factor in the grouping’s development.