Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh(Source: VNA)
Vientiane (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh attended a series of events related to the 49 th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, namely the 17 th ASEAN+3 Ministerial Meeting, the sixth East Asia Summit and the 23 rd ASEAN Regional Forum in Vientiane, Laos on July 26.

These events provided participating countries the opportunity to review their relations and cooperation over the past year and work out orientations to step up connections in the coming year, along with deliberating regional and international issues of shared concern and discussing preparations for the upcoming ASEAN Summit with several partners, in Vientiane in September.

Participating countries gave a lot of time to discuss the situation in the Korean Peninsula, the Middle East, terrorism, extreme violence, navigation security and migration and expressed their concerns about intensive and extensive impacts of these issues on peace, security and development in the region. They agreed to speed up cooperation to tackle these challenges.

On the East Sea issue, many countries shared their concerns about recent and underway happenings in the waters, including the building of man-made islands and militarisation.

They underscored that the maintenance of peace, security, safety and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the East Sea is a shared benefit and responsibility of all relevant countries.

They highlighted compliance to international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 as well as exercising self-restraint, committing no actions to complicate the situation, not using or threatening to use force, implementing the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and working towards the introduction of a code of conduct (COC).

For his part, Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh spoke highly of progresses made in the cooperation, within the framework of ASEAN+3, EAS and ARF.
He suggested the ASEAN+3 concentrate on actualising the measures left in the 2013-2017 Working Plan, giving priority to the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises, investment, infrastructure connectivity, collaborative response to climate change, transnational crime, maritime security, natural disaster management and cyber security.

At the East Asia Summit, the Vietnamese leader asked participating countries to support ASEAN’s centrality and establish maritime security as a priority of the EAS.

During the ARF’s meeting, he suggested the forum switches to preventive diplomatic measures while continuing efforts to build trust through practical activities, to contribute to ensuring peace and security.

Regarding regional and international situations, he asserted the importance and significance of safeguarding maritime security, saying the work is a common interest of countries, regions and the globe.

Past and current complicated events in the East Sea, especially land reclamation and large-scale construction and militarisation, continue to spark profound concerns, altering the status quo in the East Sea, and eroding trust in the region, he emphasised.

Regarding the recent legal and diplomatic processes related to the East Sea issue, Vietnam expressed its position on the arbitral tribunal, set up in compliance to Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982, he noted.

The Vietnamese delegation stressed the need to place importance on dialogue and negotiations and begin the next phase to stabilise the situation and settle the dispute on the basis of abiding by international law and the Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982, and upholding a constructive spirit.

Therefore, Vietnam called on involved sides to exercise self-restraint, not perform any activities that could fuel tension, and promote bilateral negotiations as well as the implementation of the DOC and the early formation of the COC between ASEAN and China.

The EAS and ARF play an important role in promoting the exchange of viewpoints, deterring conflicts, proposing measures, and supporting the involved sides in tackling disputes, viewed the Vietnamese delegation.

After the ARF-23, Deputy PM and FM Pham Binh Minh and his entourage left Vientiane for Hanoi.-VNA