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PM addresses ASEAN Summit

Released at: 09:08, 14/11/2017

PM addresses ASEAN Summit

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (6th from left) attends the opening session of the 31st ASEAN Summit (Photo VNA)

ASEAN should uphold its central role and stature in international arena for the sake of peace, security and prosperity in the region, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc tells Summit in Manila on November 13.

by Linh Van

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and leaders from the nine other ASEAN member countries attended the opening ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila, the Philippines, on November 13, the Vietnam News Agency reports.

Leaders from some 20 partner countries and international organizations, including Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, the Republic of Korea, the US, the EU, and the UN were also in attendance.

In his opening address, President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte said the 31st ASEAN Summit and related meetings offer good opportunities for ASEAN member nations and their partners to discuss regional issues.

He strongly condemned terrorism and violent extremism as well as copyright violations and piracy, which have posed serious threats to regional and global economic growth.

The President also highlighted ASEAN cooperation in combating and preventing drug crimes.

In his speech at the plenary session of the 31st ASEAN Summit, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlighted three key areas of ASEAN cooperation.

He called for determination to build a self-reliant ASEAN community that upholds the common interests of citizens, develop the ASEAN Economic Community via economic connectivity and internal trade facilitation, and strengthen mutual support among member economies. 

The Prime Minister suggested the bloc further uphold its central role and stature in the international arena for the sake of peace, security, and prosperity in the region. 

Stressing the significance of ASEAN’s 50th anniversary, he said Vietnam is committed to building a strong ASEAN community. 

On the East Sea issue, Prime Minister Phuc welcomed the consensus on principles reached among ministers at the 50th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM 50) held in Manila in August. 

In that spirit, he asked for documents at the event to fully reflect the principles and stance featured in the joint statement from the AMM 50, including ensuring security, safety, and maritime and aviation freedom in the East Sea, settling disputes by peaceful means in line with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and fully respecting legal and diplomatic processes and seriously implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC). 

He lauded ASEAN and China for ratifying the framework Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), adding that the effective and legally-binding Code should be negotiated in a practical and feasible way. 

Participating leaders agreed to sign a document, adopt eleven others, and take note of eleven others that cover issues of public concern such as workers’ rights and job opportunities, gender equality and improvements to women’s empowerment, youth, health matters like medicine resistance and malnutrition elimination, and business facilitation. 

In the political-security arena, they reaffirmed commitments to maintaining and promoting regional peace, security, and stability as well as peacefully settling disputes, and respecting diplomatic and legal processes in line with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS and the DOC, towards reaching an effective COC. 

In the economic arena, they hailed member economies’ economic growth forecast of 5 per cent this year, higher than 4.8 per cent in 2016 and likely to rise to 5.1 per cent next year. 

They stressed the need to continue boosting connectivity via the facilitation of regional trade and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises amid the fourth industrial revolution. 

On social-cultural matters, member economies pledged to further promote specific actions to narrow the development gap, increase connectivity, and reform administrative procedures. 

Regarding ASEAN’s ties with partners, they shared the view that countries should further deepen ties with regional and global organizations, especially in trade, investment, sustainable development, connectivity, development gap narrowing, and other inter-sectoral issues. 

Turning to regional and global issues, leaders looked into ways to curb terrorism, extremism, trans-national crime and hotspots in the region, including the East Sea, the Korean peninsula, and Myanmar’s Rakhine situation. 

They consented to urging support and participation of partners, particularly in mechanisms led by ASEAN such as the ASEAN 1, ASEAN 3, the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the ASEAN Defense Ministerial Meeting Plus, in order to deal with emerging challenges. 

The ASEAN Summit is the most important event of the bloc this year, attended by the ten member countries of ASEAN and ASEAN partners to strengthen solidarity, promote the group’s central role, foster economic growth, narrow the development gap, and improve the ASEAN Community’s capacity.

Related meetings will be held following the summit, including the ASEAN-US 40th Anniversary Commemorative Summit, the 20th Meeting of the ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea), separate ASEAN meetings with China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Canada, the EU, and the UN, the 12th East Asia Summit (EAS), Mekong - Japan Summits, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Leaders’ Meeting.

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