Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Vietnam's delegation attended the ASEAN Leaders' Meeting in Indonesia on April 23-24.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at the ASEAN Leader’s Meeting (Photo: VNA)
The ASEAN Leaders' Meeting, which took place in Jakarta on April 23-24, focused on exchanges on Myanmar's situation, the Community Building process, Covid-19 response, and ASEAN’s external relations.
This was the first live conference among ASEAN leaders in 2021 and nearly 18 months since ASEAN conferences were first held online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Reinforce solidarity and mutual assistance
This was also the first foreign business trip of newly elected Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to highlight Vietnam's priority to tighten and strengthen solidarity and mutual assistance with ASEAN member countries, and contribute to enhance ASEAN's central role and position in solving emerging challenges, thereby creating a peaceful and favorable environment for sustainable development of each member state and the entire region.
This trip also contributed to affirm Vietnam's efforts to make a positive contribution to the ASEAN Community building process, continuing the results achieved in 2020 – the year of Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship; affirming Vietnam's commitment, responsibility and active contribution to regional and international issues; and affirming Vietnam's priority to tighten and strengthen solidarity and mutual assistance with ASEAN member countries, contributing to enhancing ASEAN's central role and position in solving emerging challenges, thereby creating a peaceful and favorable environment for sustainable development of each member state and the whole region.
During the trip, the Vietnamese Prime Minister had bilateral meetings with ASEAN leaders.
ASEAN leaders congratulated Mr. Pham Minh Chinh for being elected the Prime Minister of Vietnam.
At the meeting, ASEAN leaders focused on three main contents: cooperation to build ASEAN Community, ASEAN’s external relations, and regional and international issues of common concerns.
Regarding community building cooperation, leaders of ASEAN countries all said that ASEAN is facing many challenges that threaten the peace, stability and development of nations and people's lives. Therefore, ASEAN more than ever needs to promote solidarity, unity and mutual assistance to steadily overcome the current difficult period, and maintain its central role, prestige and position.
One of ASEAN's priorities at the moment is to step up the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and promote comprehensive recovery. The member countries agreed to continue to effectively implement the Covid-19 response initiatives adopted in 2020, to soon complete and implement the plan to use the ASEAN Foundation for Disease Response to purchase vaccines as well as support people and businesses to stabilize their lives, restore production and business.
Countries expressed their high support for the initiative to strengthen ASEAN's strength in response to natural disasters (ASEAN SHIELD Initiative) proposed by Brunei.
Recognizing the importance of ASEAN's relations with its partners, leaders agreed to continue to pay attention to promoting and deepening effective, substantive and balanced dialogue and cooperation relationships with partners on the basis of ASEAN fundamental principles, ensure the promotion of ASEAN's central role, and strengthen relations between ASEAN and China, Australia, the US and UK.
On international and regional issues, leaders expressed concern that the situation was continuing to worsen, seriously affecting the lives of the people, and they asked the parties to refrain from and terminate the use of force, creating favorable conditions for finding solutions for Myanmar's future.
As the Chairman of the UN Security Council in April, Vietnam is working to promote ASEAN’s central role, serving as a bridge between ASEAN and the UN Security Council to ensure objective, balanced and supportive information, to support Myanmar to overcome difficulties.
The fact that Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attended the conference right after taking up his new position demonstrated Vietnam's proactive attitude and high responsibility towards the region and ASEAN.
PM Chinh’s remarks focused on promoting the implementation of cooperation orientations that ASEAN agreed to in 2020, meeting the urgent requirements of ASEAN in the current period, especially disease control, ensuring people's lives, and maintaining peace, security and stability in the region, including at sea, for economic recovery and development.
During the meeting with the Secretary-General of ASEAN, the Vietnamese Prime Minister expressed appreciation for the cooperation and coordination of the Secretary-General and the ASEAN Secretariat to Vietnam. He said that the Secretary-General and the ASEAN Secretariat played a central role in coordinating the operation of the entire ASEAN apparatus in the process of developing and strengthening ASEAN links.
The Vietnamese Prime Minister also pointed out that ASEAN's priorities at this time were to focus on disease control, promote recovery, properly handle emerging problems, and maintain ASEAN's central role, prestige and position.
During a bilateral meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his counterpart agreed to continue to support each other under the ASEAN framework as well as at regional and international fora, continue to promote the role of ASEAN in promoting the search for solutions to the Myanmar issue, and coordinate to maintain ASEAN's common position and voice in the East Sea issues, strictly implement the DOC, and soon achieve a substantial and effective COC on the basis of international law and the UNCLOS 1982.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen during his bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh also agreed to promote COC negotiations consistent with international law and the UNCLOS 1982.
Singapore Prime Minister Ly Hien Long agreed with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on continuing to promote good cooperation between the two countries at regional and international forums, especially ASEAN and APEC cooperation; and on working together to promote member countries to complete ratification and effective implementation of the CPTPP and the RCEP.
The two sides agreed to work together to maintain ASEAN's stance on the East Sea issue, support ASEAN's role in solving the Myanmar issue, and contribute to peace, stability and cooperation in the region as well as contribute to maintain the image and position of ASEAN.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh was the first ASEAN leader to be welcomed by Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the conference. President Widodo praised Mr. Pham Minh Chinh's attendance at the ASEAN Leaders' Meeting right after he took office, demonstrating Vietnam's sense of responsibility.
The two sides affirmed that they will continue to cooperate closely and effectively at regional and international forums, especially ASEAN and the United Nations, and coordinate with other ASEAN countries to promote solving the Myanmar issue in the direction of stabilizing the situation early, reducing violence and casualties, and resuming dialogue between the parties to seek a peaceful solution, for peace and stability in the region and in the world. The two sides also agreed to uphold ASEAN's common stance on the East Sea issue, including the maintenance of peace, stability, security and safety of navigation and aviation, and effective implementation of the DOC and early completion of negotiation for COC in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS 1982.
The two leaders also affirmed that they attach special importance to the need to soon complete the negotiation on the boundary of the exclusive economic zone between the two countries to create a legal corridor for the two sides to strengthen cooperation and reduce cases of illegal fishing, creating a model for settling differences at sea among nations, contributing to maintain peace, cooperation and development in the region.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s participation in the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, on April 23 and 24, his first overseas trip as the Government leader of Vietnam,