ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Retreat (Source: VNA)
Vientiane(VNA) – Measures for the effective actualisation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and three Blueprints, especially the Political-Security Community Blueprint, were among the topics debated at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Retreat that took place in Vientiane, Laos, on February 27.

The ministers agreed to identify prioritised areas and measures in the short, middle and long terms, and increase supervision and coordination mechanisms at both national and regional levels in order to ensure the progress and quality of the work.

They all raised their support for eight priorities initiated by Laos - ASEAN’s Chair in 2016.

The participants consented to promote cooperation and connectivity in the three pillars: the Political-Security Community, the Economic Community and the Socio-Cultural Community.

The member countries will also strengthen solidarity and unity within the ten-member group while carrying forward the key role played by ASEAN in maintaining regional peace and security and increasing dialogues, cooperation as well as mutual trust and understanding among them.

They will work together to improve ASEAN’s capacity in coping with challenges in a timely and efficient fashion, and foster relations between the bloc and its partners.

The ministers underlined the need to enhance the efficiency of the mechanisms, initiated and led by ASEAN such as ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the East Asia Summit (EAS).

They pointed to the necessity to move forward the group’s central role in the regional evolving architecture.

The ministers also touched upon a string of regional and international issues of shared concerns such as situations in the Korean Peninsula and the East Sea, along with non-traditional challenges such as terrorism, cyber security, human trafficking, abnormal migration, climate change, natural disasters and diseases.

Regarding the East Sea issue, the ministers expressed their deep concerns over the recent complicated developments in the sea, including reclamation activities, which, they said, have eroded trust between countries, raised tensions and threatened peace, security and stability in the region.

They stressed the need to maintain peace, stability and maritime and aviation security and safety in the East Sea, pursue non-militarisation, exercise refrain and address disputes through peaceful measures and in line with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Under the theme “Turning vision into reality for a dynamic ASEAN Community,” the AMM Retreat is the first meeting of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers under Laos ’ chairmanship in 2016 and after the ASEAN Community was formed in December last year.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh headed the Vietnamese delegation to the Retreat.

Later on the day, the Lao Deputy PM and FM held a press conference on the results of the Retreat.

On the East Sea issue, he said as the ASEAN Chair, Laos and other ASEAN member countries will work to push cooperation between China and ASEAN to continue implementing the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and soon complete the building of a Code of Conduct.

He said the sides are having dialogues and working together to ensure the East Sea is an area of peace, safety and development and militarisation is avoided.-VNA