Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (front, centre) at the 26th ASEAN Regional Forum in Bangkok on August 2 (Photo: VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) – The 26th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) kicked off in Bangkok on August 2 under the chair of Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai.

The forum is attended by foreign ministers of ASEAN and dialogue partners, along with representatives of observer countries. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh led the Vietnamese delegation to the event.

In his opening speech, Thai Foreign Minister Pramudwinai emphasised that over the last 26 years since the first ARF was held also in Bangkok in 1994, the ARF has become one of the main and most inclusive forums to promote constructive dialogue and refer to opinions to create a unanimous approach so as to build confidence and trust and to resolve the political and security issues of shared concern in the Asia-Pacific region.

Mentioning the challenges facing the region, he said the ARF should not only maintain itself as a platform for straightforward and open discussion as well as substantive cooperation, but also consolidate the political will and enhance the capacity for collective actions to help prevent security incidents and contribute more effectively to the response to urgent challenges in the region.

At this year’s ARF, participants are set to exchange viewpoints on political and security issues in the Asia-Pacific region, along with future directions for the forum. They will also deliberate and adopt the documents which will serve as guidelines for ARF members to enhance cooperation and security in the region in accordance with the forum’s work plans.

Thailand’s priorities for this event consist of promoting sustainable security, highlighting ASEAN’s centrality in developing tangible outcomes with external partners, and promoting women, peace and security.

The 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings are taking place in Bangkok from July 29 to August 3. They attract representatives of more than 30 countries, including ASEAN members, dialogue and non-dialogue countries of the ARF, and guest nations of host Thailand like Norway, Peru, Switzerland and Turkey. -VNA