Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh offered Vietnam’s opinions on directions and measures to achieve the formation of the ASEAN Community by the end of this year, as well as the bloc’s post-2015 vision at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in Malaysia on January 27-28.
|Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in Malaysia (Photo: VNA)|
He also suggested cooperation priorities for ASEAN during 2015 and ways to deepen ASEAN’s ties with its partners and enhance its central role in the emerging regional structure.
Regarding the East Sea dispute, Minh urged the bloc to utilise its central role to ensure regional peace and security and push the implementation of specific measures for the full and effective observance of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), particularly Article 5 on restraining and not complicating the situation, while accelerating result-oriented negotiations towards the early formulation of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) and enacting trust-building measures to prevent and manage sea incidents that can threaten peace, security, and maritime and aviation safety in the East Sea.
The ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat themed “Our People, Our Community, Our Vision” discussed many important contents in the year Malaysia is ASEAN Chair, including priorities of the bloc in 2015 and the progress of the ASEAN Community building, among others.
Delegates agreed on a series of key priorities, including launching the Community as scheduled, completing a blueprint of the ASEAN Vision after 2015, improving the efficiency of the ASEAN apparatus, and expanding internal trade and investment by strengthening cooperation among small- and medium-sized enterprises, among others.
It was reported that the group has achieved roughly 85 percent of the tasks required to formally establish the Community, with political-security components 85 percent completed, economics 78 percent, and socio-culture 97 percent.
In order for the ASEAN to take shape as schedule on December 31, member states should make stronger political commitments, invest proper resources, value the harmony of national and regional interests, and improve the efficiency of ASEAN supervisory mechanisms, according to delegates.
To develop the ASEAN Vision beyond 2015, the ASEAN established a high-level task force to draft the blueprint of action plans for 2016-2025, to be submitted to ASEAN leaders for approval during their 27 th Summit in November.
Ministers affirmed that the ASEAN should uphold its significant role in promptly dealing with arising challenges and crises in the region via launching fast-response mechanisms, while fortifying internal connectivity, solidarity and unity to secure the ASEAN’s central role in the emerging regional structure.
They agreed that the bloc should improve the efficiency of its forums and mechanisms, including the ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3, the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting, and the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum.
Turning to regional and global issues, the meeting issued a declaration of ASEAN Foreign Ministers condemning violence and atrocities from extremist organisations in Iraq and Syria.
Expressing concern over the recent complicated developments in the East Sea, ministers requested the concerned parties exercise restraint, avoid using force or threatening to do so, peacefully settle disputes in line with international law including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, fully observe the DOC, and work towards an early formation of the COC.