Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh has stated that the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting has agreed to set a long-term vision to lift bilateral strategic partnership to a new height.

In an interview granted to the Vietnamese media in Beijing , China on August 31, Deputy FM Vinh said the meeting is an important event to mark the 10 th anniversary of the ASE AN-China strategic partnership and roll out major orientations to further enhance their ties.

The two sides reached high consensus about the importance of furthering the ASEAN-China relations, not only to their own interests but also to common peace, stability and prosperity in the region, Vinh said.

He added that at the 16 th ASEAN-China Summit slated for October, their leaders are due to adopt a Declaration on lifting their partnership.

Furthermore, both parties shared the view that in order to boost their relations, it is necessary to continue building and strengthening strategic and mutual trust, thus laying a foundation to expand and reinforce across-the-board cooperation, he said.

In addition, economics, trade and investment will be given priority, with the goal of bringing two-way trade between ASEAN and China to 500 billion USD by 2015.

The deputy FM said the meeting put forward several practical suggestions to boost cooperation in these fields, including upgrading of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA), faster realisation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and infrastructure and transport linkage.

Participants also welcomed China ’s proposal on setting up a funding mechanism for infrastructure proejcts, the Asia financial stabilisation fund and the ASEAN-China marine cooperation fund. At the same time, the two sides will continue to strengthen cooperation in the sub-region framework, including the Mekong Sub-region.

Deputy FM Vinh said ASEAN-China two-way trade turnover already reached 400 billion USD, and at the current pace, the two sides are certain to achieve their 500 billion USD goal in 2015.

Last but not least, the two sides agreed on the importance of building trust and ensuring peace and security in the region, including the satisfactory setttlement of the East Sea issue for the common objective of ensuring peace, stability, maritime security and safety in the East Sea, resolving disputes peacefully in line with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The diplomat said both sides consented to conduct an official consultation at the first ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Meeting on the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in Suzhou , China on September 14-15.

It is an important and active decision, Vinh noted, kick-starting the process of negotiations and formulation of the COC between the two sides.

The deputy FM said the Vietnamese delegation to the meeting, led by Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, had made several substantial proposals, contributing to the success of the meeting.

He noted that Vietnam vowed to further deepen the ASE AN-China strategic partnership, with special importance attached to strengthening political and mutual trust, thus laying a foundation to expand bilateral cooperation in all fields.

The country also laid emphasis on infrastructure and transport connectivity, saying that as a neighbouring country of China , Vietnam is in a favourable situation to connect China and the Greater Mekong Sub-region as well as the entire ASEAN region.

At the same time, Vietnam called for stronger cooperation to ensure peace, stability and security in the region, including peace and maritime security and safety in the East Sea . The country stressed that all parties should seriously adhere to principles and commitments reached in the past, including the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and the Joint Statement on the occasion of the DOC’s 10th anniversary, while peacefully settling disputes in line with international law and the 1982 UNCLOS.

All other countries expressed approval of the speech that Vietnam made on behalf of ASEAN, which emphasised that besides the full implementation of the DOC, a COC should be put in place as soon as possible to prevent conflicts and ensure that relevant parties behave in line with international law and the UNCLOS, Deputy FM Vinh said./.