Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem has called for joint cooperation among ASEAN member countries to accelerate endeavours for peace, security, stability and development cooperation development in the region.

Khiem made the appeal in his speech presented at the 18 th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF 18) that took place in Bali, Indonesia, on July 23.

ASEAN nations should effectively cope with challenges and boost confidence building measures as well as settle disputes and difference in the region through peaceful dialogues in line with principles of international laws and the United Nations Charter, said Khiem.

Having noted the East Sea issue, Deputy PM and FM Khiem emphasised that peace, stability, maritime security and safety in the East Sea is the common concern, interest and desire of the entire region.

It is necessary to absolutely respect principles of international laws, particularly the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS) and fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) towards the building of the Code of the Conduct on the East Sea (COC), he said.

The 18 th ARF marks the important success of bilateral and multilateral meetings of ASEAN senior officials, ASEAN Foreign Ministers and ASEAN FMs and their partners that are held annually in preparation for the East Asian Summit (EAS) and relevant Summits scheduled to take place in Bali in coming November.

This is the first event of its kind to be attended by the foreign ministers of the US and Russia.

At the one-day forum, the ministers highlighted ASEAN’s importance and its role in building and sharing standards in the relations among regional countries.

They welcomed and encouraged the ARF to further contribute to consolidating and bringing into play all tools for regional peace, stability and security such as the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).

They laid stress on the importance of ensuring peace, stability, maritime security and safety in the East Sea, settling disputes among concerned parties through peaceful measures, respecting principles of international laws, particularly UNCLOS and ensuring the effective implementation of DOC and welcoming the adoption of guidelines for the implementation of DOC to boost confidence building towards building COC.

The ministers spoke highly of the Hanoi Action Plan for implementing the ARF Vision Statement and the results, which, they said, have contributed to future ARF activities and the combination of confidence building and preventive diplomacy for regional peace, stability and cooperation.

The 18 th ARF took place when ASEAN is striving for building the ASEAN Community in 2015 on three pillars and consolidating and raising its main role in the region and the international arena to expand its external relations and regional architecture ,with ASEAN functioning its forming key role.

This meeting is considered a milestone for the ARF in entering a new phase from “confidence building measures” to the stage of “preventive diplomacy”.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa issued the ASEAN Chair’s Statement at the end of the meeting./.