Participants at the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-52)(Source: VNA)

The ministers affirmed their determination to fully and effectively implement the ASEAN Community Vision to 2025, continuously implement orientations andinitiatives to build an ASEAN of self-reliance, creativity and sustainabledevelopment.

They agreed to promote efforts to implement the ASEAN Leaders' Vision Statement onPartnership for Sustainability, objectives of the ASEAN Community Vision to 2025, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the UN; and promote the building of strategies and plans to help ASEAN member nations full tap opportunities brought by the 4th industry revolution.

Delegates stressed the importance of completing negotiations for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in 2019, enhancing cooperation in sub-regional development and building a new approach to narrow the development gap.

They agreed to continue implementing measures to improveworking methods and operation efficiency of ASEAN.

The ministers underscored the importance of solidarity withinASEAN and the bloc’s central role in external relations, agreeing that ASEAN will continue to expand and deepen relations with its partners.

They agreed to introduce to partners about the ASEAN Outlookon the Indo-Pacific(AOIP), emphasizing the group’s goals and principles in cooperationfor a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening cooperation tomaintain and promote regional peace, stability and security; and effectivelyaddress emerging challenges.

Accordingly, ASEAN will actively implement the ASEAN Political-Security Community by 2025, prioritising cooperation in response to non-traditional challenges, strengthening defense-security cooperation and maritime cooperation, and actively promoting ASEAN principles and standards of conduct.

On the occasion, ASEAN foreign ministers signed a document to expand the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), enabling Peru to join the treaty, raising the total members of the treaty to 38.

The ministers applauded positive progress on the Korean Peninsula, including inter-Korean summits and summits between the US and the DemocraticPeople’s Republic of Korea, considering these a contribution to the long-termgoal of a peaceful and stable Korean Peninsula without nuclear weapons.

They also had intensive and extensive discussions on the situation in the East Sea, took note of the concerns on the activities, especially the ongoing serious incidents in the East Sea. The ASEAN reaffirmed the importance ofcomplying with international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea UNCLOS 1982, andcalled on the sides to practice restraint, to not militarize, to avoid conducting acts that complicate the situation, and to settle disputes by peaceful means on the basis of international law and the UNCLOS 1982.

ASEAN countries are committed to continuing efforts to fullyand effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties inthe East Sea (DOC) and tosoon reach theeffective and practical Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

Speaking at the event, Vietnamese FM Pham Binh Minh highly valued results ofthe 4-year implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision to 2025. He called on ASEANmember nations to continue promoting intra-bloc solidarity and cooperation, and maintainits central role in external relations.

He stressed that the East Sea situation is complicated, includingunilateral acts like militarization and increase of military exercises,especially the violation of Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continentalshelf for illegal exploration activities by China’s Haiyang Dizhi 8 with theescort of their coast guard ships.

These actions seriously violate Vietnam’s sovereign right andjurisdiction prescribed in the UNCLOS 1982, Minh said, adding they aresubsequent to the large-scale encroachment and militarization of the disputedstructures in the sea. Furthermore, they also eroded trust, intensified tensionand directly affected peace, stability, security, safety, freedom of aviationand navigation in the East Sea, violated the DOC and went against thecommitment to maintaining a favourable environment for COC negotiations, hesaid.

He suggested ASEAN maintain solidarity and common voice,reaffirm its principles and commitments to peace and stability, call forrestraint and non-unilateral actions that harm dialogues and regionalcooperation and hinder legitimate economic activities of the coastal countries,and try to build an effective and practical COC.-VNA