ASEAN leaders talk global, regional issues at retreat session

Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) discussed many international and regional issues at a retreat session within the framework of the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, on June 23.

A view of the retreat sessionwithin the framework of the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok on June 23 

They voiced their concern about the possible impacts of theUS-China trade war and emphasised the need for ASEAN to enhance solidarity andconsensus, and jointly devise appropriate measures to minimize negative impactswhile effectively adapting to the new context.

Given this, the countries highly evaluated the ASEAN’sadoption of a document on the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, they noted.

Regarding the situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, theyagreed to assist Myanmar and especially the Rohingya people to repatriatevoluntarily and safely with their security and dignity ensured, and to continueimplementing other recommendations in an appropriate manner.

The leaders also highlighted the progress in the negotiationson a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea between ASEAN and China, affirmingthe necessity to build an efficient, effective and internationally-recognisedCOC.

At the session, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phucdelivered a speech on the importance of ASEAN’s solidarity and consensus in thecommunity building.

He underscored the urgent need for sincerity and frankness inrelations among the member countries, respect for diversity and differences,maintenance of solidarity, and not hurting one another’s sentiment andinterests. He also called on the regional countries to keep steadfastness inthe treatment of partners.

The PM affirmed that in 2020, as the ASEAN Chairman and anon-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, Vietnam willactively work with Indonesia to promote the bloc’s stature throughstrengthening the ASEAN-UN connectivity. He also expressed his hope for othercountries’ coordination and support to help Vietnam fulfill this role.

Regarding the East Sea issue, the Vietnamese leader saidASEAN should have a straightforward view, noting that the bloc should recognisethe initial positive steps in the COC talks, but it also should not leave asidedevelopments in reality like illegal land reclamation, militarisation,obstruction of the legal exploitation of marine resources, and even threats tothe safety of fishermen’s lives and assets.

Therefore, the ASEAN needs to encourage dialogue andcooperation while simultaneously being straightforward and responsible for thedevelopments that may negatively affect peace, security and stability, he added.-VNA 

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