The 23 rd ASEAN Summit kicked off in Brunei on October 9, the first in a series of high-level meetings of the bloc and between the bloc and its partners.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is leading the Vietnamese delegation to attend the summit and its related meetings.

The summit focused discussions on measures to achieve the goal of establishing the ASEAN Community by 2015 and orientations for the association’s development after 2015.

ASEAN leaders also exchanged views on how to expand and deepen the relationship with the bloc’s partners and promote the central role of ASEAN in the forming regional structure, as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern.

In his opening speech, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah stressed that ASEAN has only two more years to establish the ASEAN Community on three pillars of politics-security, culture-society and economics.

Delegates stressed the need for the bloc to continue exerting efforts to effectively implement its cooperation plans and programmes on all three pillars to build a people-centred community, strengthen the coordination between authorised agencies at both national and regional levels to ensure the achievement of set targets during the community establishment process.

They also emphasised ASEAN’s central role and responsibility in building a regional structure in order to ensure peace, security and development in the region.

Accordingly, the bloc needs to continue strengthening solidarity, raising its voice and contributions to important regional issues as well as regional tools and cooperation mechanisms on politics-security, including the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ), the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+).

The leaders also agreed that ASEAN should play the core role in expanding the linkage and connectivity to the entire East Asian region, through such initiatives as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the ASEAN Plus Three Partnership on Connectivity and the East Asia Connectivity, as well as work together to deal with challenges, including non-traditional security ones like disaster control, maritime security, climate change, and food and energy security.

Regarding the East Sea issue, the leaders affirmed the importance of ensuring peace, stability and maritime security and safety in the sea, stressing the need to strictly implement the bloc’s Declaration on Six-point Principles on the East Sea, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and the Joint Statement of the ASEAN-China Summit on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of DOC, and to solve all disputes by peaceful means with respect for international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

They applauded the first official consultation between ASEAN and China at senior official level on a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) as an important beginning step.

They asked the two sides to make more efforts to make substantial progress in the process and early reach the COC in order to better ensure peace, stability, maritime security and safety in the East Sea . They agreed to push the implementation of initiatives on the setting up of a hotline and search and rescue activities at sea.

Regarding orientations for ASEAN’s development in the future, ASEAN leaders particularly stressed the building of a strategic vision to ensure that the bloc will develop strongly and further promote its central role after 2015.

They adopted a declaration on their determination to establish an ASEAN Community Vision beyond 2015 and assigned the ASEAN Coordinating Council to build the vision’s main contents to submit to the ASEAN Summit next year.

In his remarks at the summit, Prime Minister Dung highlighted tasks to build a united and strong ASEAN Community and promote the bloc’s central role in ensuring peace, security, prosperity and development in the region.

In terms of regional and East Sea issues, PM Dung also shared the views with other leaders.

“All parties concerned need to settle disputes by peaceful means, exercise self-restraint, refrain from the use of force, observe international law, the 1982 UNCLOS, fully and effectively implement DOC and promote the formulation of COC”, he said.

At the end of the 23rd ASEAN Summit, leaders approved many important statements on boosting cooperation in social security, young entrepreneurs, natural disaster control and non-infectious disease prevention.-VNA