The East Sea issue and the MH17 plane crash in eastern Ukraine should be among topics to be discussed at the 20th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting, scheduled to take place in Brussels , Belgium on July 23.

The proposal was made by ASEAN and EU senior officials during their meeting on July 22 to prepare for the event.

The officials also exchanged views on the situation of the two regions as well as issues of mutual concern, including the evolving regional architecture in East Asia and non-traditional security challenges such as climate change, natural disasters and maritime security and safety.

According to Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh, head of the Vietnamese delegation to the ASEAN-EU SOM, the focus of the meeting will be a statement on the outcomes of the 20 th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting by the Co-Chairs.

The two sides will highlight bilateral cooperation achievements, especially in implementing the Statement and Action Programme in the 2013-2017 period covering collaboration in politics, security and socio-culture, among others, as well as in building a roadmap towards a strategic relationship.

Vinh stated that the ASEAN and EU senior officials agreed to suggest adding the recent complicated developments in the East Sea and the ministers’ concerns over the issue while drafting the statement.

They stressed the importance of abiding by international law, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and principles in settling disputes such as no use of or threat to use force to complicate the situation, he said.

They called on the parties concerned to seriously implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) towards the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

The 20 th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting is drawing the participation of foreign ministers from the 10 ASEAN and 28 EU member states. The Vietnamese delegation to the event is led by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

This is the first time Vietnam has co-hosted such a meeting together with the EU as a coordinator for ASEAN-EU relations in the 2012-2015 period.-VNA