The ASEM leaders pose for a joint photo (Photo: VNA)

Ulan Bator (VNA) – The 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit wrapped up in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, on July 16 with the approval of the Chair’s Statement and the Ulan Bator Declaration, stating ASEM leaders’ resolve to strengthen Asia-Europe partnership for the future through connectivity.

During the two-day summit, the leaders also approved 20 new initiatives proposed by the member countries, including Vietnam’s initiative on an ASEM meeting on creative education and human resources building for sustainable development.

The European side will be the host of the 12th ASEM Summit in 2018, and Myanmar will organise the 13th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in 2017.

Prior to the summit’s closing ceremony, the leaders had a discussion on enhancing the three cooperation pillars of ASEM, focusing on regional and international problems, especially issues pertaining to peace, security, terrorism, migration, nonproliferation of nuclear and mass destruction weapons, and navigation security.

They strongly condemned terrorist attacks in both Asia and Europe, expressed unity and offered condolences to the French Government and people over heavy losses in a recent terror attack. They shared the view on the complicated situation in the Middle East – North Africa, the Korean Peninsula, and Ukraine, the migration crisis, and Brexit.

Many participants voiced concerns about recent developments affecting security in Asia, including the East Sea and East China Sea.

The ASEM leaders agreed on the urgent need for bolstering cooperation to maintain peace, stability and secutiry. They committed to joint efforts to ensure peace, stability, navigation and overflight safety and freedom, and unimpeded trade. They urged for self-restraint, not using or threatening to use force and unilateral actions, settling disputes through peaceful measures on the basis of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

In his speech, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stressed that development, connectivity and cooperation goals will be unachievable in an environment that is unstable and full of risks.

Current complicated developments require both continents to increase constructive dialogue and cooperation, share common interests and responsibilities to ensure peace and stability, so as to garner all resources for realising the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other internationally recognised goals, he said.

He called on the ASEM member nations to take the lead in boosting dialogues on regional, inter-regional and global cooperation while paying heed to trust building measures and preventive diplomacy.

He said although Asia-Pacific remains a dynamic region and a growth engine of the world, recent worrying developments in the East Sea – the artery for international navigation and aviation – have been eroding trust, fueling tensions and jeopardising peace, security and stability in the region and the world.

In recent years, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have shown its central role and, together with other existing mechanisms at the regional and inter-regional levels including ASEM, contributed to maintaining regional peace, security and stability, the leader said.

ASEAN has continually persisted in boosting dialogues, trust building measures and preventive diplomacy. The bloc’s consistent viewpoint is to exercise self-restraint, not have unilateral actions causing tensions and complicating the situation, not use coercion and conduct militarisation, fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and work to soon finalise a code of conduct in the waters (COC).

All disputes must be resolved peacefully in conformity with international law, including the UNCLOS, and with full respect to diplomatic and legal processes, he noted.

Vietnam has been joining hands with other ASEAN members and countries around the globe to promote dialogues to ensure peace, security and stability in the region and the world at large, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc added.-VNA