Scene at the unofficial annual meeting of ASEAN Foreign Ministers on the sidelines of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 28 (Photo: VNA)

New York (VNA) – Foreign ministers (FMs) of member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) convened an unofficial annual meeting on the sidelines of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 28.

Singapore, which currently holds the rotating ASEAN chair, updated the participants on its preparations for hosting the upcoming 33rd ASEAN Summit, high-level meetings with partners and the 13th East Asia Summit (EAS) scheduled to take place from November 13-15.

The FMs discussed ASEAN nations supporting each other’s bids for posts at the UN and at other international organisations, saying that it is demonstration of solidarity and a step toward the building and promotion of the ASEAN Community globally. They agreed to frequently get updated on the candidacy of bloc member nations.

Deliberating international and regional issues of common concern, the officials affirmed cooperation in the region aims at ensuring peace and stability, with dialogue and collaboration being major tools in international relations.

They recommended ASEAN maintain solidarity and balanced approach based on multilateralism and free trade amid global complicated developments.

The meeting reached an agreement on the building of ASEAN’s common stance on the regional architecture, particularly in the bloc’s processing of ideas, initiatives and strategies freshly raised in the region.

The FMs also exchanged opinions on Myanmar’s situation, expressing their hope that the Myanmar Government will soon have a specific plan to tackle issues in Rakhine state for the sake of local people as well as the ASEAN Community and Southeast Asian.  

Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Deputy FM and Head of the Vietnamese Permanent Mission to the UN (R) (Photo: VNA)

Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Deputy FM and Head of the Vietnamese Permanent Mission to the UN, highlighted ASEAN’s central role in the region and noted that solidarity and unity in the bloc is the key to ensuring peace and stability in the region.

He suggested the bloc take the lead in maintaining dialogue and cooperation among countries by prioritising basic principles, like self-restraint, avoidance of unilateral acts that could complicate the situation, respect for international law, and building a rule-based regional architecture.

Regarding the East Sea issue, Quy reiterated ASEAN’s common stance and asked the concerned parties to fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and accelerate negotiations toward the adoption of a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea.

He underscored that the process requires self-restraint and avoidance of unilateral acts, as well as the creation of favorable conditions for COC negotiation.

The same day, the FMs attended the ASEAN-UN Ministerial Meeting (AUMM), which affirmed the sides’ commitments to reinforcing the comprehensive strategic partnership toward the realisation of the ASEAN Vision 2025 and the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Lauding the fruitful outcomes of bilateral cooperation based on the ASEAN-UN action plan for 2016 – 2020, the two sides agreed to increase activities that foster links between the UN Agenda 2030 and the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

The officials also agreed to boost collaboration in preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping, cross-border crime prevention, implementation of UN sustainable development goals (SDGs), climate change adaptation, environmental protection and women empowerment.

They highlighted the support for multilateralism and regional connectivity processes. They emphasized the rule of law and the importance of respecting international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), in peacefully settling disputes, preventing conflicts, and maintaining peace in the region and the world.

Speaking at the event, Ambassador Quy affirmed Vietnam’s support for increasing ASEAN-UN cooperation in peacekeeping, preventive diplomacy, and law enforcement in the region.

He expected that the UN would continue helping ASEAN build its community and realise the SDGs.

The diplomat informed the participants that Vietnam will work with the UN and the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation to hold the ASEAN-UN Regional Dialogue on peace and reconciliation later this year.-VNA