Vietnam is ready to take over the ASEAN Chairmanship for 2020 with the highest sense of responsibility, said Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, reiterating Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s statement.
The diplomat has granted Nhan Dan Online an interview regarding the recent successful visit by PM Phuc and his spouse, accompanied by a high-ranking Vietnamese delegation, to attend the 35th ASEAN Summit and related summits in Thailand.
Deputy FM Dung briefed the results of the 35th ASEAN Summit and related summits, which basically marked an end of Thailand’s ASEAN Chair Year and initially transferred this role to Vietnam. The Summit marked the positive results of ASEAN cooperation in 2019 in all three pillars under the theme of "Advancing Partnership for Sustainability.”
In the political pillar, ASEAN continues to maintain solidarity, unity and its central role, as well as strengthening cooperation with partners. In the economic pillar, ASEAN Community building has been strengthened, while the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations have seen marked progresses, with 15 countries, except India, having reached consensus. In the socio-cultural pillar, the central role of the people is concerned. ASEAN continues to promote cooperation for the benefit of its people, such as cooperation in dealing with the aging population and establishing dynamic aging centres.
In addition, through the Summit, cooperation with partners has been further strengthened. The United States proposed the Blue Dot Network initiative on high quality infrastructure projects. China proposed the goal of bringing the two-way trade between ASEAN and China to US$ 1 trillion and investment to US$150 billion by 2020, while Japan increased investment in infrastructure, connectivity, support for network security training, maritime security cooperation, disaster response and waste treatment.
The Summit adopted 16 documents on cooperation among ASEAN members and 15 others with partners, while recognising 16 documents on specialised cooperation channels.
Regarding the East Sea issue discussed at the Summit, Deputy FM Dung said that for many years, the East Sea has been a topic of concern at ASEAN conferences. At the Summit, countries seemed to be at higher and stronger levels of concern, with many opposing the militarisation and island improving activities, as well as acts of preventing legal economic activities at sea that disrespect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of countries and contrary to international law. The reason may be due to the recent violation of Vietnam's sovereignty in its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, stirring serious concern among countries, Dung said.
At the summits, PM Phuc and the Vietnamese delegation affirmed Vietnam’s clear, consistent stance on the issue, which is to resolutely and persistently protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the spirit of international law compliance, ensuring peace and stability in the region and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea. Vietnam has asked countries to support the settlement of disputes by peaceful means, strictly implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), thus creating an environment which enables legal processes, especially the real and effective development of a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea that in accordance with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982), and to be internationally recognised.
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (fifth from right) and ASEAN leaders pose for a photo at the opening ceremony of the 35th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok on November 3, 2019. (Photo: VNA)
Regarding the Vietnamese delegation’s activities at the event, Dung said that they actively participated in the summits and integrated Vietnam's priorities into the agenda orientation for 2020. At the Summit, PM Phuc made important and specific proposals to promote the continuous process of building the ASEAN Community, promoting economic linkages and connectivity, enhancing ASEAN solidarity and building mutually beneficial relations between ASEAN and partners in line with the interests of member countries.
At the ceremony to transfer the ASEAN Chairmanship, the Vietnamese senior leader delivered an important speech, officially announcing the theme and priorities for the ASEAN Chair Year 2020 and the preparation of Vietnam for this important and honourable task.
In addition, the Vietnamese delegation has also joined in various multilateral and bilateral activities in order to enlist the support of other countries for Vietnam’s ASEAN Chair Year 2020.
When taking over the ASEAN Chairmanship, PM Phuc delivered a message affirming that Vietnam is ready to assume the ASEAN Chairmanship role in 2020 with the highest sense of responsibility and is pleased to welcome international friends to the country next year.
According to Deputy FM Dung, the Vietnamese PM also announced the topic and introduced Vietnam's priorities for the ASEAN Chair Year 2020. He affirmed that "think Community, act Community" is what ASEAN needs most to make the ASEAN Community a success.
Regarding Vietnam’s preparations for the ASEAN Chair Year 2020, Dung said: “So far, we are ready regarding organisational structure and human resources, and have projects and overall action plans for 2020. Now it's time for us to embark on concrete implementation.”
In the immediate future, Vietnam is focused on preparing for the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in January 2020 in Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa. This is the first major activity to open the ASEAN Chair Year 2020, with an emphasis on unifying the ASEAN's 2020 orientations and priorities under the chairmanship and administration of Vietnam, Dung stated.
In addition, Vietnam will continue to propose ideas and initiatives set out for the ASEAN Chair Year, thus creating unity and consensus in ASEAN before putting them into practice, the diplomate added. Nhan Dan
Ceremonies were held in Bangkok on November 4 evening to wrap up the 35th ASEAN Summit and related summits and hand over the ASEAN chairmanship for 2020 to Vietnam.
Vietnam will receive the ASEAN chairmanship for 2020 from Thailand in early November. With this new responsibility, the country is aiming to further its contributions to regional peace and sustainability with a people-centred approach.
The chairmanship of ASEAN for 2020 that Vietnam officially assumed on November 4 will be a chance for the country to affirm its role and stature while further showing itself as an active member of the ASEAN Community.