|Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (fifth from right) in a group photo with other leaders from ASEAN member countries (Photo: VNA)
On June 22 and 23, PM Phuc had a busy schedule with diverse bilateral and multilateral activities. The summit was the first high-level event in the year hosted by Thailand as ASEAN Chair 2019.
Themed “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”, ASEAN leaders focused discussions on orientations and measures to build a sustainable ASEAN Community for the people.
The member countries affirmed the need to maintain sustainable security basing on the basic principles of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), ensuring the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)'s central role and making orientations for the treatment of external partners on the basis of the documents on the ASEAN’s vision on the Indo-Pacific.
They agreed that it is necessary to further promote intra-bloc trade and seamless ASEAN while implementing the ASEAN Single Window, and ASEAN Smart Cities Network as well as promote digital economy and build a digitalised ASEAN in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and conclude negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in 2019.
The ASEAN leaders decided to select 2019 as the year of ASEAN culture to increase cultural exchanges and promote ASEAN cultural identities.
Sharing the viewpoints with other ASEAN leaders at the plenary session, PM Phuc advocated the theme of the summit proposed by Thailand, emphasising that the maintenance of long-term peace and sustainable stability in the region is the first and foremost condition to ensure the bloc’s development.
He stressed that peace and stability do not naturally come, but require joint efforts of all member countries to promote solidarity and build ASEAN as a reliable partner and a strong community keeping the central role in the region.
He held that in all exchanges and actions, besides respecting diversities and differences, the ASEAN is a community so it needs to heighten intra-bloc solidarity and nurture trust with external partners.
Given complicated developments and trade tensions in the region, open economies like the ASEAN countries should promote self-reliance, seize opportunities and overcome challenges to maintain sustainable growth, he said.
The PM emphasized that the ASEAN should give priority to strengthening intra-bloc solidarity and connectivity as well as promoting its central role, cooperation mechanisms and security in the region chaired and led by the association.
The bloc should foster intra-economic linkages, make use of the already-made commitments and signed agreements, soon conclude the RCEP talks, create a favourable business environment, improve the capacity of responding to Industry 4.0’s opportunities and challenges, and connect and develop Industry 4.0 technological centre networks, he suggested.
Regarding the East Sea issue, the PM said the negotiations on building a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) between ASEAN and China has seen progress, towards the early completion of the document in line with international law.
However, the real situation remains complicated, he said, adding that “peace, stability, solidarity, unification and development cooperation are values that we had to sacrifice to have.”
In fact, it took three decades to have a 10-member ASEAN today and over half a century to build a strong ASEAN Community at present, PM Phuc said.
The summit adopted the ASEAN leaders’ vision statement on partnership for sustainability, the ASEAN leaders’ statement on ASEAN Cultural Year 2019, and Bangkok declaration on preventing marine waste in ASEAN.
On this occasion, PM Phuc had bilateral meetings with leaders of Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and a trilateral meeting with his Cambodian and Lao counterparts to exchange a number of measures and orientations to further promote the bilateral relations and address specific issues such as labour, delimitation of marine areas, and tax problems.
He also received leaders of major groups of Thailand to discuss about large investment projects applying high technology and friendly to the environment as well as promote the exports of Vietnamese goods.
Before wrapping up his trip to attend the 34th ASEAN Summit, the PM visited the Embassy of Vietnam in Bangkok and talked with its staff and representatives of the overseas Vietnamese community in Thailand.