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Vietnam suggests stronger connectivity in EAS

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on August 2 suggested participating countries of the East Asia Summit (EAS) enhance their maritime cooperation and connectivity.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh at the9th EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Bangkok 



Addressing the 9th EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Bangkok, Minhshared other ministers’ views on the important role and position of the EAS inthe regional architecture, especially given the complex and unforeseeabledevelopments in the region.

The official expressed his backing for efforts to intensify the role of the EASChair – Thailand which also holds the Chairmanship of the Association of SoutheastAsian Nations (ASEAN), ASEAN+3 and the ASEAN Regional Forum, and strengthenconnectivity and support between these mechanisms.

Regarding the East Sea situation, following the concerns expressed by the EAScountries at the meeting, Minh pointed out unilateral activities that haveviolated sovereignty and legal interests of littoral countries.

Vietnam has sufficient historical and legal foundations over Hoang Sa (Paracel)and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes, he reaffirmed, re-stressing ASEAN’sstance and principles on the East Sea.

He called on relevant sides to enhance trust, to not militarise but exerciserestraint and take no actions that complicate the situation and intensifytensions, to not use or threaten to use force but seriously observeinternational law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea(1982 UNCLOS), implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the EastSea, and build an effective, efficient Code of Conduct in the East Sea in conformitywith international law.

At the meeting, EAS countries agreed to step up result-oriented cooperation inpriority areas in the Manila Action Plan for the 2018-2022 period, coveringenvironment-energy, education, finance, health care-diseases, disastermanagement, connectivity, economy-trade, food security and maritimecooperation.

They also consented to submit declarations on combating drug trafficking andtransnational crime, and on connectivity to the 14th EAS slated forlate 2019.

The ministers took note of recent positive developments on the KoreanPeninsula, including US-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) summitsheld in Singapore, Vietnam’s Hanoi, and Panmunjom.

They supported efforts to resume negotiations, step up diplomatic activitiesand dialogues to seek long-term solutions for the goal of complete, verifiableand irreversible denuclearization, for sustainable peace on the peninsula.

The EAS countries committed to seriously abide by relevant resolutions of theUnited Nations Security Council.

Many expressed their grave concerns over the recent developments in the EastSea, including the moves of militarising the area and the activities that threatenlegal economic activities of coastal states, erode trust, stir up tensions and negativelyaffect the regional peace and stability.

They reaffirmed the significance of the maintenance of peace, security,stability, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea,non-militarisation, no actions that complicate the situation and unilaterally changethe status quo, and handling disputes peacefully in line with internationallaw, especially the 1982 UNCLOS.

All sovereignty claims must be based on international law, they said,expressing their disapproval of coercive deeds to claim sovereignty in the EastSea.-VNA



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