Deputy PM and FM Pham Binh Minh (5th R) and other delegates at the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (Source: AFP/VNA)
Vientiane (VNA) – The freshly-concluded 49 th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings ended successfully, reflecting the ten-member group’s efforts to realise its vision for a dynamic ASEAN Community.

The comment was made by Deputy Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency on July 26 after the meetings concluded in Vientiane, Laos.

He listed 16 ministerial-level meetings held over the past days, including the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, meetings between ASEAN foreign ministers and their counterparts from ASEAN partner and dialogue countries, and other partners within the framework of the East Asia Summit (EAS), and the ASEAN Regional Forum.

At these meetings, ASEAN member countries reviewed the implementation of plans set for 2016 – the first year after the formation of the ASEAN Community in late 2015, and mapped out plans which cover politics-security, economy and culture-society and will be submitted to a high-level meeting of ASEAN leaders in September, the official said.

After just a half year since the establishment of the ASEAN Community, the group has implemented about 140 out of 290 set action lines spanning politics and security, Trung said, adding that the bloc is working to initiate new negotiations regarding the Economic Community, as well as cultural and social affairs.

Through the meetings, ASEAN enhanced relationships with its partner countries which all affirmed that they attach importance to the group’s central role.

At the EAS, ASEAN and its eight partners, comprising China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, the US, Russia, Australia and New Zealand, compared notes on international issues along with measures to cope with challenges facing the countries, he said.

Trung emphasised that despite differences, the ten ASEAN member countries issued a joint communiqué, which confirmed the group’s stance on major matters, including the East Sea issue.

The issuance shows that the countries are aware of the benefits of cooperation within ASEAN, as well as the need to join hands to promote the bloc’s central role and strengthen solidarity, he said.

The communiqué touched upon regional issues, assessed the implementation of ASEAN programmes and set forth the group’s future plans which will be submitted to the upcoming high-level meeting.

Regarding Vietnam’s participation at the events, Trung said the country constructively engaged in the events to demonstrate the country’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralisation and diversification of relations, especially with ASEAN.

Through speeches delivered at the forums, Vietnam shared its views on regional and international issues, he said, noting the country’s proposals for bilateral cooperation between countries along with upholding the bloc’s central role.

The country’s active engagement in these meetings contributed to realising ASEAN plans and maintaining peace and security in the region and the world at large, Trung said.-VNA