Senior officials from country members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) met in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, on May 9 to make preparations for the 24th ASEAN Summit and related meetings.

The Vietnamese delegation to the meeting was headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh.

The meeting agreed on the draft working schedules, agendas and the themes of the 24th Summit and related meetings, which are the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM), the 14th ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) meeting and the 11th ASEAN Political-Security Community Council (APSC) meeting.

Accordingly, the AMM will discuss measures to push the building of the ASEAN Community, enhance ASEAN’s central role in the region, expand and deepen ASEAN’s external relations as well as the international and regional situations including the complicated developments in the East Sea.

The ACC is expected to review the pace of ASEAN Community building in all three pillars, while the ASEAN Political-Security Community Council will review the implementation of the APSC blueprint.

Addressing the meeting, Deputy FM Vinh affirmed that Vietnam will make active and responsible contributions to ASEAN’s important contents and the bloc’s solidarity to ensure the summit’s success.

He updated the meeting on the current complicated developments in the East Sea, emphasizing that China’s placement of its oil rig and sending of many escort ships, including military vessels 80 nautical miles deep into Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982) as well as infringed international law and the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties on the East Sea (DOC).

Noting that Chinese ships intentionally rammed into and used water cannons on Vietnamese ships, damaging many of them and inflicting injuries on crew members, Deputy FM Minh underlined that the situation is serious, harming peace, stability, security and marine safety in the region as well as trust-building efforts in the region.

He said ASEAN needs to raise a common voice in the situation, stressing the demand for strict observance of international law and the 1982 UNCLOS, including the Convention’s provision on respecting the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone of coastal countries.

Other ASEAN countries expressed deep concern over the situation, which they said affected peace, security and marine safety in the region. They proposed that ASEAN take a united stance, asking all sides to abide by international law and the UNCLOS, strictly and fully implement the DOC. They stressed the urgent need to reach a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea to better ensure peace, stability, security and maritime safety in the region.

Ministerial-level meetings of the ASEAN will convene on May 10, and the 24th ASEAN Summit will officially open on May 11.-VNA