The 2016 ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) in Laos (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) and the ASEAN Joint Consultative Meeting (JCM) took place in Manila, the Philippines from March 15-16 to discuss preparations for the 30th ASEAN Summit.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung headed the Vietnamese delegation to the events.

Senior officials from the ten ASEAN member states reviewed programmes, agenda as well as possible documents designed for the Summit, slated for April 26-29.

They also exchanged views on regional and global issues; and discussed the progress in the ASEAN community building, relations with the bloc’s partners and directions for cooperation.

Additionally, the officials exchanged views on the progress in building a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC). They put more emphasis on the significance of maintaining a united ASEAN and the central role of the bloc in this matter.

They agreed on fast-tracking the COC consultation with China and on the plan to conclude the COC framework before mid-2017.

They reaffirmed that ASEAN would act upon the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and foster trust-building and anti-dispute measures.

The senior officials together with senior economic officials discussed ways to reduce development gap, strengthen connection and improve the efficiency of coordination between community’s pillars.-VNA