ASEAN foreign ministers convened at different meetings in Bali , Indonesia on Nov. 15-16 to prepare for the 19th ASEAN Summit and other related summits between ASEAN and its partners.

At the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM), the ministers reviewed the implementation of decisions issued at the AMM-44 in Bali last July and the informal ASEAN ministerial meeting in New York last September.

They agreed to accelerate the process of building the ASEAN Community and the implementation of annual goals needed to achieve from now until 2015.

They expressed their sympathy over heavy losses by natural calamities to Cambodia , Laos , the Philippines , Thailand and Vietnam , stressing that the region needs to step up cooperation on natural disaster management and mitigation and raise regional capacity to respond to emerging challenges, including climate change, security, navigational safety and other transnational issues.

Regarding the group’s external relations, the ministers emphasised that ASEAN needs to encourage and create conditions for its partners to participate and make contributions to solving issues relating to peace, security and cooperation in the region; promote the building of a regional architecture in line with interests of countries and based on existing mechanisms such as ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3, EAS, ARF, ADMM+ with ASEAN playing the central role.

They welcomed Brazil ’s participation in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), affirming TAC continues to be a useful tool to steer relations among ASEAN countries as well as between ASEAN and other countries for peace, stability and cooperation in the region.

Discussing the East Sea situation, the ministers stressed the importance of ensuring peace, stability, security and safety of navigation, solving disputes between concerned parties through peaceful measures, respecting principles of international law, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and working together to build a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea.

The ministers hailed the first session of the Working Group of the ASEAN senior officials on COC to start discussions among ASEAN on components of COC.

At the meeting of the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (SEANWFZ) Treaty Council, the ministers highly valued outcomes of the implementation of the action plan to carry out the SEANWFZ Treaty, especially progress in recent talks between ASEAN and nuclear weapon states to create conditions for those countries to participate in the Protocol of the SEANWFZ Treaty.

At the ASEAN Political Security Community (APSC) Council, the ministers in charge of the APSC reviewed the two years of implementation of the master plan to build the ASEAN Political Security Community.

The ministers stressed the need to focus on the implementation of the 14 priotised areas, promote tools, cooperation mechanisms for peace and security in the region such as TAC, SEANWFZ, DOC, ARF, ADMM+, respond to emerging challenges such as maritime security, natural disaster management and transnational crime, and accelerate coordination between agencies in the pillar community, contributing to the common goal of building the ASEAN Community by 2015.

At the ASEAN Coordination Council (ACC) meeting, the ministers reviewed final preparations for the 19th ASEAN Summit and related summits. They discussed issues relating to the ASEAN Secretariat’s activities.

At the end of the meetings, the ASEAN ministers and the Brazilian foreign minister signed an approval statement and an intention statement on Brazil ’s joining in TAC.

At the meetings, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh shared Vietnam ’s views and contributions to the group’s prioritised issues, especially on the increase of solidarity, connectivity and building the ASEAN Community.

He hailed ASEAN’s signing of an agreement to establish the centre for coordination of human assistance on national disaster management and asked ASEAN to promote the centre’s operations and implementation of the declaration on seeking cooperation and rescuing people and ships in distress at sea.

In his speech, Minister Minh said ASEAN needs to make contributions and promote its decisive role in ensuring peace, security, stability and cooperation in the region, as well as strengthen tools and cooperative mechanisms of peace, security, stability and cooperation in the region.

He affirmed that peace and stability in the East Sea, including navigational security and safety, are common aspirations and interests of the region and all countries, and concerned parties need to solve disputes peacefully, respect international law, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and fully implement DOC and work together to build COC soon.

On the sidelines of these meetings, Minister Minh held bilateral meetings with other foreign ministers to discuss measures to boost bilateral cooperation./.