ASEAN Foreign Ministers have adopted a Joint Communiqué of the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM 53), Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung told the press on the sidelines of the AMM 53 and related meetings on September 10.
Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung (Photo: VNA)
The AMM 53 and related meetings are taking place in the form of video conferencing from September 9 to 12.
The Deputy FM stressed that the issuance of a Joint Communiqué of the AMM 53 reflected the solidarity and high consensus as well as the resolve of ASEAN in announcing its views on internal matters, the building of the ASEAN Community and regional and world issues, adding that it is also a success of the host country – Vietnam.
According to Dung, the negotiations to draft the document lasted over more than one week and consensus was reached in the morning of September 10. He said the Joint Communiqué covers many aspects, but the important thing is that it has acknowledged all the work of ASEAN in the recent past, as well as all the initiatives and proposals made by Vietnam in 2020.
Regarding the East Sea issue and the negotiations on a Code of Conduct (COC) of parties in the East Sea, the Deputy FM said the issue was given appropriate attention in the AMM 53’s Joint Communiqué, demonstrating ASEAN’s concern over the issue and the bloc’s basic viewpoints and wishes, including the early achievement of a quality COC that is in accordance with international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“We hope to continue the negotiations on the COC as early as possible,” Dung said, adding that it depends greatly on the coordinator of ASEAN-China relations, which is currently the Philippines.
He went on to say that the Joint Communiqué took note of initiatives and efforts of ASEAN countries to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the ASEAN Fund for COVID-19 Response, the Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies and a post-COVID-19 economic recovery plan.
Dung revealed that the ASEAN Fund for COVID-19 Response, set up at the 36th ASEAN Summit, now has several million USD and countries are continuing to contribute to it.
The official said at the meetings, Vietnam and other ASEAN members have demonstrated solidarity and high consensus on essential and core matters, including the central role of ASEAN and the bloc’s independence and neutrality.
“ASEAN members show a sincere, constructive and straightforward attitude during the meetings, thus constituting the ASEAN’s central role in leading and creating a favourable atmosphere for discussions,” Dung said.
Cambodia suggests creation of travel corridors at AMM 53
Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn recommended ASEAN work towards the creation of “travel corridors” to facilitate business travel in a safe and gradual manner during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the ministry’s press release on the outcomes of the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM 53) and Related Meetings held via video conference on September 9-12, in his speech at the events, Prak Sokhonn underlined that amidst the escalating tensions between major powers and challenges for multilateralism, ASEAN needs to firmly uphold the spirit of the bloc’s unity and neutrality to exercise the ASEAN Way principles.
He said the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Centre (ARMAC) will have a new Executive Director in mid-October, and spoke highly of Vietnam’s initiative to set up the “Friends of ARMAC” group so as to mobilise more support for the centre.
Regarding the 27th ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) Meeting, Prak Sokhonn laid stress on the important role of the foreign partners in mobilising support for the ASEAN’s newly established COVID-19 Response Fund, as well as coordination of the regional health organisations.
At the 21st ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, he underscored the need to set up the APT Reserve of Essential Supplies, and thanked APT for their contribution to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund. He also thanked Japan for supporting the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases, and stressed the urgency to get the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement signed later this year.
Meanwhile, at the meeting between ASEAN and China, he recommended China further support ASEAN’s efforts in realising the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and thanked China for helping the bloc implement the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plans./.VNA