35th ASEAN-Japan Forum held online hinh anh 1At the event (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The 35th ASEAN-Japan Forum was held online on October 14 under the chair of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung and Japanese Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Takeo Mori.

Attended by senior ASEAN officials and a Deputy Secretary-General of the bloc, the forum reviewed ASEAN-Japan cooperation, including in implementing the outcomes of the ASEAN-Japan Ministerial Meeting and preparing for the 23rd ASEAN-Japan Summit. Participants also discussed international and regional issues of shared concern.

Mori said the new administration in Japan, led by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, will maintain a policy of upholding peace, stability, dialogue, and cooperation in the region.

To realise this policy, Japan will strengthen cooperation with Southeast Asia and attach importance to ASEAN’s centrality, he noted, affirming that his country supports the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and wishes to join the bloc in its implementation.

Regarding the COVID-19 response, Japan highly values ASEAN’s efforts to cope with the pandemic and pledges continued assistance for the bloc to fight the disease, minimise the socio-economic impact, and promote sustainable recovery.

He said Japan will assist ASEAN in setting up a regional centre for public health emergencies and emerging diseases, thereby helping to improve the region’s healthcare capacity and responsiveness to emerging epidemics.

Talking about international and regional issues, Mori emphasised the importance of peace and stability in the region while voicing concern over the East Sea situation.

He called for dialogue, an increase in trust building, restraint from activities that may escalate tensions or complicate the situation, non-militarisation, no use or threat to use force, and the settlement of disputes by peaceful means on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Japan also hopes that relevant parties will fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and soon finalise an efficient and effective Code of Conduct that is in line with international law and the 1982 UNCLOS, he said.

The Japanese side also repeated its expectation for a peaceful Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons, and that nuclear disarmament processes on the peninsula will be carried out in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner.

For their part, ASEAN officials spoke highly of Japan’s role in regional cooperation for common peace, stability, and prosperity.

They also expressed their delight at the implementation of the outcomes of the Vision Statement on ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation 2018-2022.

They applauded Japan’s support for the grouping in COVID-19 response and the country’s commitment to donating 1 million USD to the COVID-19 response fund and providing 50 million USD for ASEAN to set up a centre for public health emergencies and emerging diseases.

ASEAN countries also reiterated the bloc’s viewpoints and stances on some global and regional issues, such as the Korean Peninsula and the East Sea.

They underlined that in the current context, which is full of difficulties and complexities, enhancing cooperation to ensure peace, stability, and security in the region is in the common interest of the region as a whole.

Representing Vietnam as the coordinator of ASEAN-Japan dialogue relations, Dung spoke highly of the progress made in bilateral cooperation despite the difficulties and challenges caused by COVID-19.

He asked that both sides maintain close coordination to deal with the pandemic, quickly set up an ASEAN centre for disease control, mitigate any negative effects, and promote overall recovery.

He shared the view of other countries on the importance of ensuring regional peace, security, and stability in the current context, repeating ASEAN’s principled stance on the East Sea, which was affirmed at the 36th ASEAN Summit in June and the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in September, aiming to turn the East Sea into an area of peace, security, and stability.

Dung also announced the organisation plan for the 23rd ASEAN-Japan Summit and pledged to work closely with other countries to hold it successfully./.