Illustrative image (Source: Asia One)

Hanoi (VNA) – Representatives from over 20 ministries and sectors gathered at a meeting in Hanoi on December 14 to review the ASEAN cooperation in 2016 and orientations for the time to come.

The regular meeting was chaired by Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, who is also the Head of the ASEAN Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) Vietnam.

Participants underscored the significance of 2016 as the first year after the formation of the ASEAN Community, implementation of the ASEAN Vision 2025 and master plans on the three pillars of the Community, as well as the recent achievements the bloc has made.

ASEAN has promoted the compilation and ratification of action plans and work plans from 2016-2020; the building of a Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 and the third-phrase implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) to assist Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam (CLMV) countries; facilitation of the bloc’s diplomatic relations; and enhancement of the operation effectiveness of the ASEAN departments and ASEAN Secretariat. 

In 2016, Vietnam continued to participate fully and fulfilled its commitments and made effective contributions to the bloc in all cooperation fields, reflecting in the joint efforts to implement the ASEAN Vision 2025 at all levels; promoting the bloc’s solidarity, unity and central role in addressing major challenges in the region, particularly the East Sea issue; fulfilling the coordination role in ASEAN – India relations; and actively supporting Laos's 2016 ASEAN Chairmanship.

The year 2017 will mark the 50th founding anniversary of the association and 10th signing anniversary of the ASEAN Charter in the complicated and unpredictable changes in the region and the world.

Participants agreed that Vietnam needs to promote its active role in promoting the ASEAN cooperation, with focus on implementing the programmes and plans to develop the ASEAN Community 2025 on three pillars to create driving forces for the bloc.

The country will work with the Philippines on the agenda of the ASEAN Chair 2017, such as building the people-oriented and people-centred ASEAN Community; empowering women, children, immigrant workers and facilitating the youths; promoting comprehensive development via supports for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The delegates held that Vietnam must accelerate the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and early finalisation of a Code of Conduct (COC) in the waters.

Vietnam needs to contribute to developing ASEAN diplomatic relations in a more intensive and practical manner, by continuing its role as coordinating country of ASEAN – India relations, and successfully hosting the meeting to mark the 25th anniversary of ASEAN – India ties.

Efforts will be made to better the performance of cooperation mechanisms in the ASEAN framework and between the bloc and its partners, while strengthening the connection among ministries, sectors and localities in ASEAN cooperation.

Vietnam will actively participate in and organise activities to celebrate the 50th founding anniversary of the bloc at home and broad, thus to promote the identity of the group and its benefits.-VNA