ASEAN, Chinese senior officials meet online hinh anh 1Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The 26th ASEAN-China Senior Officials' Consultation (ACSOC) was held in the form of video conference on July 1.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of ASEAN SOM of Vietnam, represented the country in the role of the ASEAN Chair 2020 at the event.

Chen Xiaodong, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, head of ASEAN SOM of China, highly appreciated the active response of ASEAN in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recalling that China has actively promoted cooperation with ASEAN countries in response to the pandemic since the early days, the official affirmed that China would continue boosting cooperation with ASEAN in sharing information, experience, production and distribution of vaccines and drugs against COVID-19.

He went on that many specific initiatives have been proposed by the Chinese side such as the use of the ASEAN-China cooperation fund to support collaborative response activities, the organisation of the ASEAN-China forum on health cooperation, and the establishment of safe corridors between China and ASEAN countries.

China proposes to soon establish the ASEAN-China ministerial meeting on disaster response and coordination to promote economic corridors in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), while identifying the theme of cooperation in 2021 as the Year of ASEAN-China cooperation development, and upgrading the ASEAN - China strategic partnership to a comprehensive strategic partnership on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-China relations in 2021.

ASEAN countries affirmed that China has always been one of the bloc’s leading partners and the largest trading partner, playing an important role in maintaining peace, stability and cooperation in the region.

They welcomed China's efforts in disease control and maintenance of stability and socio-economic development, and appreciated China's active support for ASEAN initiatives on the COVID-19 response fund and regional emergency medical supplies reserve.

The two sides agreed to together curb the spread of the pandemic and, at the same time, step by step recover economic and trade activities in the new normal context. They will continue completing the development of the ASEAN-China Plan of Action for the 2021 – 2025 period to outline priorities for cooperation in the new circumstance.

Both ASEAN and China demonstrated strong determination to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year and effectively execute the Protocol to Amend the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA), thus showing strong commitment to free and open multilateral trade.

They reaffirmed their commitments to promoting dialogue, cooperation and trust building in order to ensure peace and stability in the region, including matters in the East Sea, while fully and seriously implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties on the East Sea (DOC) and soon resuming negotiations on the Code of Conduct on the East Sea (COC).

As the ASEAN Chair this year, Deputy Minister Dung said ASEAN has demonstrated the highest political will in fostering joint actions and common response in line with the ASEAN theme “Cohesive and Responsive” this year.

ASEAN and China, as strategic partners, should further strengthen concerted efforts to effectively respond to the pandemic and beef up cooperation to minimise its social and economic impact, towards sustainable recovery, he said, adding the two sides must also continue bolstering the implementation of the agreements reached by their leaders.

Speaking of conventional and non-conventional emerging security challenges in the region, Dung said ASEAN has adopted a comprehensive approach for security issues as complex developments have been seen in the region.

Dialogue, cooperation, trust building and mutual acceptance of standards play a key role in addressing all these security challenges, he continued. ASEAN and China should step up partnership in capacity building to actively tackle non-conventional security challenges, he stressed, adding that they also need to promote mutual trust and respect for each other, adhere to international laws, practice self-restraint and peacefully settle disputes and differences.

He went on to say that ASEAN will continue working closely with China to fully and effectively implement DOC and build COC in line with international laws, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)./.