Scene at the forum



Speaking at the opening ceremony, Thai Foreign Minister DonPramudwinai affirmed the importance of ARF in promoting dialogues andpolitical-security cooperation in the region.

He asked countries to seek measures to step up sustainableregional security based on international law, regional rules and standards andmutually-beneficial collaboration.

Ministers agreed to continue fully and effectivelyimplementing the Hanoi Plan of Action 2010, the ARF Vision Statement and thepast agreements, focusing on priority fields of search and rescue, fightagainst terrorism and trans-national crimes, maritime security, non-proliferationof mass-destruction weapons, peace maintenance, and new security challengessuch as cyber security.

They adopted ARF’s declarations on peace and security, fightagainst terrorism and extreme violence, action plans for 2019-2020, includingactivities and seminars featuring different security topics, ranging fromensuring security, raising public awareness of marine space, search and rescue,to response to cyber security incidents.

Amid rapid changes in the world and in the region, ASEANminsters agreed to continue carrying out measures to improving the ARF to helpthe forum maintain its role and boost adaptability toward current challenges.

They said they will examine the ARF Vision Statement and theHanoi Plan of Action 2010 to set out new development orientations for the forumin the new period.

Discussing international and regional matters, the ministersacknowledged progress recorded on the Korean Peninsula, considering it asignificant contribution to the long-term goal of peace, stability, and the denuclearisationof the peninsula.

They highlighted the importance of dialogues and cooperationin resolving differences and of the commitment to respecting relevantresolutions of the UN Security Council.

The officials also exchanged their views on emergingsecurity challenges such as extreme terrorism and violence, nuclear security,cyber safety, natural disasters and climate change.

About the East Sea issue, many ministers expressed theirconcerns over the recent complex developments, including a number of seriousincidents in the region.

They continued to stress the importance of maintainingpeace, stability, security, safety, as well as free navigation and overflightin the waters; and spoke highly of the 1982 United Nations Convention on theLaw of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).

They called on parties involved to exercise restraint andrefrain from militarisation as well as actions that could complicate thesituation; and to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on theConduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

Noting progress in the negotiations of the Code of Conduct(COC) in the East Sea, the ministers agreed that the current context requiresan effective and practical COC in the East Sea that is in line withinternational law.

Addressing the event, Deputy Prime Minister and ForeignMinister Pham Binh Minh spoke highly of ARF’s role and value in enhancingdialogues and cooperation in political-security issues of shared concern, andcoping with regional challenges.

To intensify the adaptability to the rapidly changing security environment, theofficial suggested building a new development vision for the ARF in tandem withrevamping the forum’s operation methods, considering this a major target in2020.

Minh expressed his views on the significance of peace, stability and lawrespect in the region and the world.

He applauded the recent progress on the Korean Peninsula, including summitsbetween leaders of the US and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),and said he hopes the sides will maintain the progress momentum and continuedialogues in order to iron out their differences.

Regarding the East Sea issue, the official acknowledged progress in the negotiationsof the COC.

He, however, also held that there are still grave concerns over developments inthe area, including unilateral moves and serious incidents going on in the EastSea, particularly actions that have seriously violated sovereign right andjurisdiction of littoral countries.

Minh proposed the concerned countries uphold the respect of international law,including rights and interests of costal states in line with the UNCLOS 1982,fully and effectively observe the DOC, and maintain a favourable environmentfor negotiations in order to reach an effective and practical code.-VNA