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PM attends 33rd ASEAN Summit

Released at: 14:05, 14/11/2018

PM attends 33rd ASEAN Summit

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (4th from left) and other ASEAN leaders at the 33rd ASEAN Summit in Singapore (Photo: VNA)

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Singapore from November 13-15 for 33rd ASEAN Summit and related summits.

by Long Van

Addressing the plenary session of the 33rd ASEAN Summit in Singapore on November 13, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that ASEAN’s unity must continue to be the key factor in both thought and actions for the sake of a steady, resilient and strongly cohesive ASEAN Community, according to a report from the Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

The Prime Minister appreciated the achievements ASEAN has made under the chairmanship of Singapore and thanked Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for his contributions, the State-run news agency reported.

It quoted Prime Minister Phuc as stressing that based on what has been obtained in 2018, ASEAN’s resilience and innovation must continue to be promoted in the coming years.

He also urged ASEAN members to deepen cooperation and expand dialogue to build trust, uphold international law, support a rules-based international multilateral system, and enhance cooperation in innovation areas to optimize opportunities in Industry 4.0 and bring the most practical benefits to their people.

The Prime Minister also spoke of Vietnam’s initiatives in a regional digital platform, a pan-ASEAN mobile network, an ASEAN technology university, and a regional disaster alert system.

He called recent developments in the East Sea a grave concern for countries in the region as unilateral moves could lead to heightened risk of confrontation.

He emphasized the principles agreed upon by ASEAN, which involve respecting international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), in the peaceful settlement of disputes, exercising self-restraint, not using or threatening to use force, not militarizing or complicating the situation, enhancing the building of trust, developing an effective and substantive code of conduct (COC), and fully and seriously implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

Prime Minister Phuc also voiced his support for ASEAN playing an active role in helping Myanmar address humanitarian issues in Rakhine State, as well as for efforts to promote peace, stability, and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong pointed out the important issues ASEAN needs to focus on: building a peaceful, stable and rules-based region, sustaining the economic dynamism of ASEAN, and strengthening the bloc’s capacity to effectively ensure regional security and stability.

He noted that ASEAN has been making progress in dialogue and cooperation to address those issues.

Prime Minister Lee also highlighted the strides forward in talks over the COC between ASEAN and China. He added, however, that the East Sea situation remains complex and urged unanimity in the bloc’s common stance and adherence to agreed principles in bolstering trust and preventing risks of instability.

Other regional leaders shared the view that under Singapore’s chairmanship tagline of “Resilient and Innovative” in 2018, the bloc has continued to firmly hold its central role and improve ASEAN-led dialogue and cooperation mechanisms, thus contributing to regional peace and stability and attaining positive outcomes in building the ASEAN Community.

They also noted the challenges posed by both complex global and regional changes and issues within the bloc itself.

They reiterated the foremost requirement for ASEAN’s unity and centrality, along with an open, transparent and rule-based cooperation architecture in the region with ASEAN at the center.

Member countries agreed that ASEAN needs to make efforts to facilitate dialogue, cooperation, and trust building, including fruitful negotiations on the COC, the peaceful settlement of disputes on the basis of international and the 1982 UNCLOS, and the full and effective implementation of the DOC.

They also promised continued support for Myanmar to seek long-term and sustainable solutions to humanitarian issues in Rakhine State, while applauding the recent progress on the Korean Peninsula and expressing support for efforts to promote peace, stability, and denuclearization on the peninsula.

At the end of the meeting, ASEAN leaders pledged their support for Thailand, who will hold the chairmanship for 2019.

According to VNA, the 33rd ASEAN Summit, slated for November 13-15 in Singapore, will focus on strengthening intra-bloc cooperation and connections, building a resilient and innovative ASEAN Community, and sketching out ASEAN orientations for subsequent years.

Major events at the summit include the 33rd ASEAN Summit Meeting, the ASEAN Plus 3 (China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea) Summit, the East Asia Summit, and seven ASEAN Plus 1 Summits (China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the US, India, Australia and Russia).

The second high-level meeting will also be held for countries engaging in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

At the summits with partners, participants will discuss measures to foster collaboration among parties, including enhancing partnerships in economy, trade, investment, infrastructure development, responding to changes in global economy, adapting to Industry 4.0, and settling global challenges such as environmental pollution and climate change.

The leaders will also discuss regional and international issues of mutual concern.

The ASEAN Community is based on three key pillars - the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and the ASEAN Social-Cultural Community (ASCC). Its external relations as well as the target of narrowing development gaps among members have been integrated into the contents of all pillars.

The APSC aims to share common norms of conduct in the region, upholding intra-bloc solidarity and unity, promoting the value of tools and mechanisms to ensure regional security, and promoting a common voice in regional and global challenges.

Through existing regional cooperation mechanisms, the APSC contributes to strengthening partnerships, dialogue and trust building, reinforcing regional peace, security and stability.

Regarding the AEC, ASEAN has continued efforts to supervise and evaluate its implementation and promote measures for trade facilitation, including increasing intra-bloc trade and investment and developing high-quality human resources as well as micro, small- and medium-sized enterprises.

At the same time, ASEAN has fostered connections with partner economies through the adjustment and upgrading of existing free trade agreements and negotiating new ones, while narrowing developing gaps among member countries.

The ASEAN Integration Initiative has been sped up, with 13 out of the 26 actions being implemented through 26 projects to enhance capacity and provide technical support worth $9.9 million in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

For the ASCC, ASEAN has strengthened online supervision of the implementation of the ASCC Blueprint to prepare for the 2025 report. An ASCC special envoy will be sent to the ASEAN mission in Jakarta in June 2020 to foster collaboration with other pillars.

Major cooperation objectives of the ASCC are to deal with issues related to the living conditions of people such as natural disaster and climate change response and supporting vulnerable groups. It also helps popularize the ASEAN Community among the people, enterprises and partners.

ASEAN is to finish the third year of implementing the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and blueprints for building the three pillars with positive results.

As many as 239 out of the 290 actions in political-security cooperation and 80 out of the 118 priorities in economic affiliations have been conducted, along with all the commitments in socio-cultural collaboration. Economic growth in the association is estimated to reach 5.1 per cent in 2018 and 5.2 per cent in 2019.

In 2018, upon Singapore’s proposal, ASEAN has realized its priority in building a resilient and innovative ASEAN through various activities, including the issuance of the ASEAN Leaders’ Vision for a Resilient and Innovative ASEAN.

ASEAN’s external relations have been promoted, focusing on human resources training, the digital economy, infrastructure development, anti-corruption measures, and cyber security.

So far, 91 countries have sent ambassadors to ASEAN, while 53 committees of ASEAN have been set up in third countries.

ASEAN has pledged to continue promoting its central role in regional cooperation mechanisms it has launched.

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