Delegation heads take photo with ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh (Source: VNA)
Vientiane (VNA) – ASEAN needs to define priorities and devise creative ways to effectively implement set plans relating to the organisational structure of the group and intra-bloc links in politics, economy and socio-culture, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has said.

In his speech at foreign minister-level preparatory meetings for the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits, including the 18th ASEAN Coordination Council (ACC) meeting and the 14th ASEAN Political and Security Council (APSC) meeting in Vientiane, Laos on September 6, Minh vowed that Vietnam will closely work with Laos and other member countries to make the summits successful.

Applauding positive progresses in the building of the ASEAN Community, the Vietnamese official noted that ASEAN should promote unity and represent its central role and common voice in strategic issues in the region.

It is necessary to effectively implement economic commitments, promote trade liberalisation measures, improve capacity of small and medium-sized and start-up enterprises, and narrow development gaps among member nations, he said.

He also underlined the need to enhance links in social security, education, vocational training and exchange activities within the group, and improve the efficiency of ASEAN’s activities, especially its coordination, supervision and enforcement assessment mechanisms.

ASEAN should give priority to settling security challenges such as terrorism, extreme violence, transnational crime and cyber security while enhancing its response capacity, including the operation of early warning and quick response mechanisms, he said.

Practical measures are needed to maintain peace, stability and cooperation in the East Sea, he said, suggesting involved parties solve disputes by peaceful measures in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), respect diplomatic and legal processes and strictly implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), towards the early formation of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) .

At the ACC, the ministers completed the preparation for the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and relevant meetings in the next three days, where leaders from ASEAN nations and the bloc’s eight partner countries and the UN will discuss how to promote the ASEAN Community building as well as measures to further expand and deepen cooperation between ASEAN and its partners.

They also considered a report on ASEAN cooperation in 2015 delivered by the ASEAN General Secretary, and reported the operation of ASEAN’s agencies such as the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR), the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI), the ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee (ACCC), the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Foundation.

They appreciated outcomes of the implementation of ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and master plans in the three key pillars, and supported the combined implementation of the vision and the UN 2020 Agenda on sustainable development.

Meanwhile, at the APSC meeting, the ministers focused their discussion on measures to implement the ASEAN Political - Security Community Blueprint 2025 and operation of ASEAN’s specialised agencies. They pledged to practically perform cooperation activities in the coming time, especially in dealing with security challenges in the region, including East Sea-related issues.

In the same day’s morning, ASEAN foreign ministers signed documents to expand the Treaty of Amity & Cooperation in Southeast Asia , aiming to facilitate the joining of Chile, Morocco and Egypt in the treaty.-VNA