ARF urged to continue trust building measures, preventive diplomacy
Updated : Sunday, August 05, 2018 10:16 AM (GMT+0700)

The25th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) took place in Singapore on August 4with the participation of foreign ministers from 26 countries and the EuropeanUnion (EU)’s representative.

Officials pose for a photo at the 25th ASEAN Regional Forum on August 4 - Photo: VNA

The participants came from10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), 10dialogue partners (Australia, Canada, China, the EU, India, Japan, New Zealand,the Republic of Korea, Russia, and the US), along with Papua New Guinea, theDemocratic People’s Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan, Timor-Leste,Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Deputy Prime Minister cumForeign Minister Pham Binh Minh led the Vietnamese delegation to the event.

The ministers shared theview that after 25 years of development, the ARF has continued to affirm its roleas one of the key forums for dialogue and cooperation in politics-security,building trust, and implementing preventive diplomacy in the region.

They noted that the ARFneeds to persist in the agreed basic principles, including decision making byconsensus, moving at a pace comfortable to all members and respecting theASEAN’s central role. The ARF members should continue carrying out trustbuilding measures in tandem with preventive diplomacy while fully andeffectively realising the Hanoi Plan of Action to Implement the ARF VisionStatement 2020 through practical activities to effectively cope with securitychallenges which are becoming more and more complex in the region.

Additionally, the ARF shouldenhance coordination with other security-defence cooperation frameworks andmechanisms of the ASEAN and the region, and maintain relations with researchagencies to make use of their consultancy.

At the forum, the ministersagreed to adopt the ARF statement on disaster relief cooperation, the list of theARF’s activities in 2018 and 2019, and the ARF’s work plans on maritimesecurity and disaster relief in 2018-2020.

Discussing the regional andglobal situation, they underscored the importance of a rule-based internationalorder and the role of multilateral organisations, considering these as pillarsof international peace, stability and development.

The ministers welcomed therecent progress in regional issues and called on relevant parties to fully andseriously implement the reached agreements to ensure sustainable peace andstability on the Korean Peninsula.

The ministers also voicedconcerns about emerging security challenges, including terrorism,trans-national crimes, marine security, cybersecurity, and natural disasters.They agreed to strengthen cooperation within the framework of the ARF and otherregional mechanisms to better cope with these challenges.

Regarding the East Seaissue, the ministers reaffirmed the significance of maintaining and promotingpeace, security, stability, and freedom of navigation and aviation in the EastSea. 

Many of them voiced concernsover activities which have eroded trust, including militarisation, increasedtension and may undermine peace, security, and stability in the region. Thus,the ministers laid stress on the restraint and settlement of disputes based oninternational laws and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982(UNCLOS) as well as respect of the diplomatic progress and legalprocedures. 

They said that concernedparties must not use or threaten to use force, and not carry out militarisationactivities, while fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on theConduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), towards reaching an effective Code ofConduct in the East Sea.

At the event, Deputy PrimeMinister Pham Binh Minh lauded the ARF’s role and contributions in the pasttime, including the promotion of dialogues, and cooperation to build trust andrespond to security challenges.

He recommended the ARF tocontinue focusing on effectively implementing the Hanoi Plan of Action andother agreed plans. More reforms in the ARF’s operations are needed to respondto regional and global changes, Minh said.

Expressing his concern overthe activities which escalate tension in the East Sea, erode trust andundermine regional and global peace, Minh said that the involved parties mustnot have actions that further complicate the situation and tackle the disputesby peaceful measures based on international laws and the UNCLOS 1982.

Also, he informed Vietnam’sinitiatives to host an ARF workshop on enhancing cooperation among lawenforcement forces at sea, and another seminar on applying  the UNCLOS1982 and international legal tools to cope with marine challenges.


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