Deputy FM talks agenda for 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting hinh anh 1Deputy Foreign Minister and head of Vietnam's ASEAN SOM Nguyen Quoc Dung at the event (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Deputy Foreign Minister and head of Vietnam's ASEAN SOM Nguyen Quoc Dung answered reporters’ queries about preparations and agenda for the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-53) and related meetings during a press conference in Hanoi on September 7.

About the possibility to establish new partnership between ASEAN and partners within the framework of the meeting, Dung said ASEAN now has three partnership levels, including full dialogue partnership, dialogue partnership in areas and development partnership. The bloc has received proposals from countries at all the above levels.

Recently, the UK proposed establishing full dialogue partnership while Morocco and the United Arab Emirates were also interested in setting up dialogue partnership in areas with the grouping. Several countries also suggested joining the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC). All proposed are being considered by ASEAN.

On the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Dung said as RCEP is one of the priorities of the bloc. Vietnam has actively stepped up negotiations for signing the agreement later this year in its capacity as ASEAN Chair.

He added that Vietnam hopes that at ASEAN ministers’ meetings, especially those discussing economic affairs, terms of the deal will be reached and signed.

Sharing Vietnam’s expectations at AMM-53 and related meetings when the region and the world are coping with new non-traditional security challenges such as COVID-19, Dung said the pandemic response is part of the meeting’s agenda.

Since early this year, ASEAN has strived to fight the pandemic with various new initiatives. Additionally, challenges arising from climate change, terrorism, security and safety at sea and protection of fishermen will also be discussed.

As regards to negotiations on a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) at the meeting, Dung said the COC continues to be a priority of both ASEAN and China. Talks on the issue have been delayed due to the pandemic.

According to him, both sides discussed ways to resume negotiations as well as upcoming goals./.