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Vietnam Today

PM attends 35th ASEAN Summit

Released at: 16:27, 04/11/2019

PM attends 35th ASEAN Summit

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (fifth from right) and other ASEAN leaders at the openning ceremony of the event (Photo: VNA)

Summit and related meetings held in Bangkok on November 3.

by Long Van

The 35th ASEAN Summit opened in Bangkok on November 3, under the chairmanship of the host country’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and with the attendance of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and other leaders from ASEAN countries and bloc partners.

The Thai Prime Minister was quoted by the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) as reviewing the group’s achievements this year under the theme “Advancing Partnerships for Sustainability” to help create a people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN Community that leaves no one behind and looks towards the future.

ASEAN has made strong strides forward through the implementation of the ASEAN Leaders’ Vision Statement on Partnership for Sustainability and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, he noted.

He also pointed out the issues ASEAN and the world are facing, including increasing challenges and uncertainties, noting that aside from promoting growth, the association also needs to address problems in developing human resources; conserving the environment; fighting marine debris, haze pollution, and IUU fishing; promoting an ASEAN identity; and strengthening partnerships.

At the same time, it is also necessary to create a favorable environment for long-lasting peace and stability while promoting dynamic economic growth and sustainable development, the Thai Prime Minister said.

He also asked relevant parties to continue working to conclude negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year, to stimulate economic growth as well as trade and investment.

To achieve all these, ASEAN needs a new “growth paradigm” that fosters dynamic, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth and prioritizes human capital development concurrently with environmental conservation.

According to the report from the State-run news agency, following the opening ceremony, ASEAN leaders attended meetings with bloc partners - the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit, the 16th ASEAN-India Summit, and the 10th ASEAN-UN Summit.

The 35th ASEAN Summit and related summits are being attended by leaders from the ten ASEAN countries and partners (China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, the US, and Russia), along with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

ASEAN-China Summit

At the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and other ASEAN leaders joined Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in sharing points of view on the importance of the ASEAN-China strategic partnership for peace, security, stability, and prosperity in the region.

The leaders reiterated efforts to promote dialogue and cooperation as well as building trust and soon finalizing the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

They also stressed the need to maintain peace, security, stability, and freedom and safety of navigation and aviation in the East Sea and to refrain from actions that complicate the situation.

They agreed to abide by international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS), seriously and fully implement the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and strive to build the East Sea into a region of peace, stability and cooperation.

Photo: VNA

Participants also welcomed the close economic ties between ASEAN and China, with China being the largest trading partner of ASEAN for the past ten consecutive years and a leading investor in the bloc.

ASEAN and Chinese leaders emphasized their commitments to promoting multilateralism, supporting trade-investment liberalization, and strengthening a rules-based multilateral international trading system.

They vowed to contribute to the completion of the RCEP as scheduled.

Under the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030 approved in 2018, the two sides pledged to promote cooperation in fields of common interest such as trade and investment exchanges, including the effective implementation of a protocol to amend the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement.

The two sides agreed to strive for two-way trade to reach $1 trillion and investment of $150 billion by 2020.

They agreed to enhance connectivity between the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 and China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, in addition to expanding people-to-people exchanges and cooperation in tourism, innovation, e-commerce, and digital economy.

Prime Minister Phuc was quoted by VNA as saying at the event that ASEAN always attaches great importance to the role of China in endeavors to maintain peace, security, and stability for development cooperation and prosperity in the region.

He also voiced support for the designation of 2020 as a digital economic cooperation year between ASEAN and China.

Regarding the East Sea issue, the Prime Minister affirmed that the maintenance of peace, security, and stability in the maritime route is the responsibility of all nations for mutual benefit.

He reiterated the clear and consistent viewpoints of Vietnam on the East Sea situation, which have been presented at forums at various levels.

He urged involved parties to step up efforts at both the bilateral and multilateral level to promote compliance with international law, including the UNCLOS, as well as prevent the repetition of actions that run counter to international law, while creating a favorable environment for building rules and trust, promoting dialogue, and peacefully resolving differences based on international law.

The Prime Minister also suggested seriously and fully implementing the DOC and maximizing efforts to finalize the effective COC in line with international law and with the support of the international community.

Concluding the event, the two sides agreed to adopt three documents: the ASEAN-China Leaders’ Statement on the Smart City Cooperation Initiative, the Joint Statement on Strengthening Media Exchanges and Cooperation between ASEAN and China, and the ASEAN-China Joint Statement on Synergizing the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

ASEAN-India Summit

At the 16th ASEAN-India Summit, Prime Minister Phuc and other leaders from the ten ASEAN countries and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared their views on progress in the ASEAN-India strategic partnership.

ASEAN leaders welcomed India’s Act East Policy and its active support for ASEAN’s central role and efforts to boost regional connectivity and build a community.

Prime Minister Modi, as quoted by VNA, affirmed India’s strong commitment to ASEAN, stressing that the bloc is at the center of his country’s Act East Policy and Indo-Pacific outlook, and India also strongly supports the Indo-Pacific outlook of ASEAN.

Participants noted that economic relations between ASEAN and India have been growing well over past years, with bilateral trade hitting $80.8 billion and India’s direct investment in ASEAN reaching $1.7 billion in 2018. Cooperation has also been strengthened in multiple spheres, bringing about practical benefits to the peoples and businesses of the two sides.

Photo: VNA

They agreed to continue promoting effective cooperation in the spirit of the Delhi Declaration, adopted at the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit to mark the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-India dialogue relations, particularly in the fields of trade-investment, marine cooperation and marine security ensuring, road and sea transport infrastructure connection and development, innovation, digital economy, adaptation to Industry 4.0, people-to-people exchange, and tourism.

They also welcomed the decision of economic ministers to launch a review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement so as to tap into the market of over 2 billion people on both sides.

Leaders affirmed that the two sides will coordinate to speed up and finalize negotiations on the RCEP.

Additionally, ASEAN and India agreed to augment efforts to promote dialogue, cooperation, trust building, and the formation of and compliance with standards of conduct, thus contributing to the maintenance of peace, security, and stability in the region.

Prime Minister Modi shared deep concerns for the complex developments in the East Sea, including militarization and other actions that run counter to international laws of the sea. He emphasized India’s advocacy for ASEAN’s stance, called for adherence to international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, and voiced support for efforts to build an efficient and effective COC in the East Sea that is in line with international law.

Prime Minister Phuc shared other participants’ view on developments in the ASEAN-India strategic partnership in the recent past.

He highlighted that as both sides will enter a new phase of cooperation in 2020 with the Plan of Action for 2021-2025, they should further enhance fruitful connections in areas of common concern and benefits like the sea-based economy, the development of human resources to meet requirements in the digital economy, and tourism.

He also underlined the importance of maintaining security and stability on seas and oceans, including the East Sea.

He repeated ASEAN’s principled stance on the East Sea, stressing the need to step up dialogue, build trust, form and share standards of conduct, seriously and fully implement the DOC, and build an efficient and effective COC that is in accordance with international law so as to keep the East Sea a water body of peace, cooperation, and prosperity.

Plenary meeting of the 35th ASEAN Summit

Earlier, on November 2, Prime Minister Phuc attended the plenary meeting of the 35th ASEAN Summit and related meetings in Bangkok.

ASEAN country representatives reviewed the results of the implementation of priorities under the theme of promoting the partnership for sustainability. They spoke highly of the progress gained in the building of the ASEAN Community and stressed that the bloc needs to maintain its role and significance as the core force in promoting peace, stability, dialogue, and cooperation in the region.

Participants also agreed to continue broadening and deepening the relationship between ASEAN and its partners and accelerating its sustainable development, in line with the objectives of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 on sustainable development goals.

Prime Minister Phuc highlighted the solidarity and consensus of ASEAN and stressed the importance of the building of regional architecture that is open, transparent, and works on the basis of law. He asked ASEAN countries to bring into play solidarity in supporting Vietnam in accomplishing its tasks as ASEAN Chair in 2020, building an ASEAN Community of sustainable development and having intensive and extensive relations with partners.

He highlighted that in the existing complicated regional and world situation, with advantages and challenges existing together, countries need to have a common voice, building a regional structure that is open, transparent, and based on the law, and making effective contributions to peace and stability in the region and the world over. On the basis of the achievements recorded, Vietnam will further bring into play the theme of sustainable development and consolidate solidarity among members.

Regarding the East Sea issue, Prime Minister Phuc stressed that the prerequisite to achieving peace and stability is to maintain an order that respects international law. In the recent past, there have been serious violations of international law in the sea. They have now come to an end but left profound lessons for ASEAN, and this sheds more light on the fact that security and stability in the East Sea is now very fragile and requires serious pledges and responsibility by all countries in the region to ensure that similar incidents will not be repeated. Vietnam is determined and persistent in protecting international law in the international relations in general and in the East Sea issue in particular.

In that context, he affirmed that ASEAN has maintained solidarity and unity, manifested through the stance raised at the 52nd foreign ministerial meeting, upholding the importance of peace, stability, respect for international law, ensuring security, safety and freedom of navigation, and aviation, stressing restraint from acts that complicate the situation, fully implementing the DOC and building the COC. He also expressed Vietnam’s desire to build the East Sea into a sea of peace, stability, and sustainable development.

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