Officials of ASEAN, partner countries talk regional cooperation
Updated : Friday, June 08, 2018 9:04 AM (GMT+0700)

Seniorofficials’ meetings within the framework of the ASEAN+3, the East Asia Summit(EAS) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) took place in Singapore on June 6 and7.

Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung (front, second, left), head of the Vietnamese
delegation, speaks at the senior officials’ meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum - Photo: VNA

The Vietnamese delegation tothe events was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung.

At the meetings, seniorofficials of ASEAN and partner countries shared the view that cooperationwithin the framework of ASEAN+3, the EAS and the ARF continued to obtain majoroutcomes.

Building on the progressattained since the 20th founding anniversary of ASEAN+3 in 2017, thecooperation between ASEAN and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea hasdeveloped strongly, especially in economy, trade, finance, food, health care,education, and cultural and people-to-people exchange.

In the face of regional and globaleconomic changes, the countries agreed to further enhance regional economicconnectivity, particularly by soon finalizing negotiations on the RegionalComprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), make efforts to effectively carryout existing programmes and work plans, including the ASEAN+3 Cooperation WorkPlan for 2018-2022, and focus on priority fields like supporting small- andmedium-sized enterprises, developing e-commerce, and building smart cities.

Regarding the EAS, thecountries reaffirmed the importance of the EAS as a forum for leaders to talkabout big strategic issues of shared concern. Accordingly, to implementhigh-ranking agreements, they will continue cooperating in the agreed priorityfields like energy, education, finance, health care, environment, disasterresponse, and connectivity.

Notably, the officials spokehighly of the approval of the Manila Plan of Action for 2018-2022 in April2018, which includes new priority fields like maritime cooperation, and agreedto ensure the effective implementation of this plan. The meeting alsoconsidered some proposals on bolstering cooperation in smart city building,counter-terrorism, preventing plastic waste in the sea, and nuclear security.

At the ARF senior officials’meeting, the countries discussed and reached consensus on many measures forbuilding trust, promoting preventive diplomacy, and reinforcing ties to copewith emerging challenges, including those in cyber security, marine security,counter-terrorism, disaster aid, and aviation security.

Talking about global andregional issues, the officials applauded the recent progress in the KoreanPeninsula, including inter-Korean summits, and affirmed their support forpeace, stability and denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula. They also saidthey looked forward to fine outcomes of the summit between the US and theDemocratic People’s Republic of Korea, slated for June 12 in Singapore.

With regard to the East Seasituation, they emphasised the importance of peace, stability, security, safetyand freedom of navigation and aviation in the waters, which are the commoninterest of all countries. 

Many countries voicedconcern about the recent moves, including large-scale drills, deployment ofmissiles, and bombers’ landing and taking off drills, saying that these actionshave jeopardized peace and stability and undermined trust among countries, andmay negatively affect the negotiation on a Code of Conduct (COC) of parties inthe East Sea.

They called on the relevantparties to exercise self-restraint, take no unilateral actions complicating thesituation, not militarize, and solve disputes by peaceful means on the basis ofinternational law.

The countries also urgedASEAN and China to together continue to ensure the full and effective implementationof the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and soonfinalization of a meaningful and effective COC.

Addressing the meetings,Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung stressed the cooperation mechanisms’importance to peace, stability, security and development in the region. 

He asked the countries tokeep strengthening cooperation in economy, trade, finance, connectivity,developing small- and medium-sized firms, narrowing development gap, promotingcultural and people-to-people exchange, and responding to challenges arising,while taking measures to improve these mechanisms’ efficiency.

In terms of regional andinternational affairs, he noted that changes in the region’s geo-politicalcomplexion are greatly impacting ASEAN and ASEAN-led mechanisms. Amid thatsituation, it is even more critical for ASEAN to maintain its central role,coordinate closely with one another, and bring into play existing mechanisms tocontribute to dialogue and cooperation in the region.

The recent worryinghappenings in the East Sea run counter to the DOC and may negatively influencethe COC negotiation, Dung said, calling on all sides to exerciseself-restraint, completely comply with international law and the 1982 UNConvention on the Law of the Sea, and not have unilateral actions complicatingthe situation or running counter to international law, thus ensuring afavourable environment for peace and stability in the East Sea.

On the sidelines of theevents, Deputy Minister Dung had bilateral meetings with heads of thedelegations of the US, the European Union and India.


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