Deputy Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam was an active attendee at the recently concluded ASEAN-US Summit in California, significantly contributing to the success of the event, said Deputy Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung.

During an interview with the press, Trung said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung delivered speeches at all the three discussions, expressing Vietnam’s viewpoints on the regional strategic situation.

Extending Vietnam’s concerns about recent complicated developments in the East Sea, the PM stressed the need to settle the disputes through peaceful measures on the basis of respecting international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), while curbing militarisation, abiding by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and engaging in pragmatic negotiations to conclude a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) as soon as possible.

The leader also mentioned non-traditional challenges in the region such as terrorism, cross-border crime and climate change.

To deal with these problems, it is necessary to build strategic trust, increase dialogue and cooperation, address disputes peacefully and carry forward the role played by multilateral institutions, especially ASEAN’s, he noted.

The PM underscored Vietnam’s support for enhanced relations between the ten-member group and the US, focusing on areas of shared concern such as trade, investment, science-technology, education-training and people-to-people exchange.

He suggested the establishment of ASEAN-US centres in order to step up the two sides’ efforts to develop small and medium-sized enterprises and respond to climate change.

On the sidelines of the summit, PM Nguyen Tan Dung held meetings with US President Barack Obama and leaders of other ASEAN countries to boost bilateral ties.

Deputy Minister Trung stressed that the Vietnamese delegation’s performance at the summit received high appraisal from other participating countries, helping raise the nation’s role and position in the global arena and demonstrate it as a dynamic, constructive and responsible country.

Regarding the outcomes of the summit, the official said the event had fulfilled its targets.

ASEAN and the US issued the Sunnylands Declaration that states 17 key principles guiding their strategic partnership .

Under the joint statement, the two sides agreed to uphold the fundamental principles of international law, the UN Charter and the ASEAN Charter.

They pledged adherence to rule-based regional and international order and committed to peaceful resolution of disputes, including the full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat or use of force.

The two sides shared a commitment to ensuring maritime and aviation security and safety in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, as well as non-militarisation.

The US and the ten-member bloc will support ASEAN Centrality and ASEAN-led mechanisms, tighten their coordination at international forums and join hands in sustainable development and coping with such challenges as terrorism and climate change.

The US promised to help build the ASEAN Community while partnering with the group to spur a creative economy, raise competitiveness and ease tax barriers.

The country will assist ASEAN SMEs and offers more education opportunities to regional youths, Trung said.

He added on the fringes of the summit, the US organised a conference on the ASEAN Economic Community in San Francisco on February 17 and a number of investment activities with the participation of leaders of US giants like IBM, CISCO and Microsoft.

Trung highlighted the significance of the ASEAN-US Summit, saying it was the first of its kind between the 10-nation bloc and a partner country after the formation of the ASEAN Community on December 31, 2015.

The US attaches special importance to the position and central role of ASEAN in the region, and hopes to propel bilateral relations in a practical manner for mutual benefit.

The gathering of ASEAN and US leaders to exchange regional opportunities and challenges as well as cross-border issues such as terrorism, trans-national crime and climate change adaptation demonstrated the crucial role of ASEAN as a reliable partner, a leading organisation in the region, and a competitive, attractive economic community with a gross domestic product (GDP) of over 2.5 trillion USD and population of 625 million.

Additionally, the summit marks a significant milestone in relations between ASEAN and the US. It also illustrates the US’s stronger commitment to the development of the bloc.

The US formalised the ASEAN-US Summit in 2013 after its participation in the East Asia Summit (EAS) in 2011, and then elevated the strategic partnership with ASEAN in November 2015.

The two sides adopted an action plan for the 2016-2020 period to push their cooperation activities forward.

The organisation of the summit in Sunnylands, California, which is home to numerous US hi-tech centres and businesses, and people of Southeast Asian origin, illustrated the US ’s wish to embrace links with ASEAN via economic, investment, high technology, education cooperation and people-to-people exchanges, Trung said.

Furthermore, the summit took place in the context that Vietnam and the US are witnessing remarkable strides after the establishment of their comprehensive partnership and bilateral visits of leaders, particularly the historical visit to the US by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in July 2015, he stressed.

In early February 2016, Vietnam joined the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement with the US and several countries in the region, which demonstrates the two sides’ deeper cooperation, both bilaterally and multilaterally, he added.-VNA