Heads of delegations to the meetings (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - ASEAN and its partner countries discussed cooperation orientations during their meetings in Manila, the Philippines on May 23.

The Senior Officials Meeting of ASEAN Plus Three – China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK) (SOM ASEAN+3), and the East Asia Summit Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM EAS) between ASEAN and Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the RoK, Russia and the US were held within the framework of the ASEAN SOM and related meetings in the Philippines. 

During these meetings, participants also prepared the agenda and documents of the 50th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting slated for August in the Philippines. 

At the SOM ASEAN+3, the countries affirmed the role play by ASEAN+3 as well as the mechanism’s contributions to regional cooperation over the past two decades. 

They agreed to organise a high-level meeting of ASEAN+3 in November. 

They called on the countries to actively contribute to the ASEAN+3 Finance Cooperation Fund in order to ensure adequate resources for cooperation. 

They agreed to accelerate the realization of recommendations of the East Asia Vision Group and discussed specific measures to enhance trade liberalisation, ease non-tax barriers, promote innovative economy, create favourable conditions for small-and medium-sized groups, ensure food security, develop sustainable development and strengthen connectivity as well as cultural and people-to-people exchanges. 

At the SOME EAS, participants stressed the need to maintain and consolidate EAS, the leading dialogue forum of leaders on strategic issues. 

They consented to continue effectively carry out the plan of action on the implementation of the Phnom Penh Declaration and foster cooperation in prioritized areas, such as energy, education, finance, connectivity, health care, disease combat, environmental protection and natural disaster mitigation. 

Proposals for cooperation in matters of shared concern like poverty reduction, disease fighting, anti-terrorism and extremism, non-proliferation of weapons, maritime security and cooperation were put on table.

During the meetings, the countries lauded achievements ASEAN has recorded over the past half a century and affirmed their support for the building of the ASEAN Community, intra-bloc solidarity as well as its central role to peace, security and cooperation in the region. 

ASEAN and its partner countries also debated regional and international maters of shared concern in a frank and candid manner, including issues on the Korean peninsula and in the East Sea.

They underscored the importance of easing tensions, conducting dialogues and handling nuclear issues on the Korean peninsula peacefully in line with international law and related resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council. 

Many countries expressed their concern over the East Sea issue, land reclamation and militarisation in the sea. 

Given this, they underlined the need to address the disputes through peaceful measures and on the basis of respecting international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS). 

They applauded efforts made by ASEAN and China in seriously and fully realising the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) as well as new progress in building the framework of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), thus opening up the formation of a practical, effectively and legally binding COC. 

The Vietnamese delegation to these meetings was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of Vietnam SOM ASEAN.

The ASEAN Regional Forum SOM is scheduled to take place on May 24 to look into security cooperation in the region and prepare for the 24th ARF Foreign Ministers Meeting in August.-VNA