Ministers from member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) attended meetings in Indonesia on May 5-6 to review regional cooperation and examine preparations for the 18 th ASEAN Summit (ASEAN-18).

Empowered by Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister cum Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem, Permanent Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh attended the Meeting of the ASEAN Political-Security Council (APSC), the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) and the Meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC). Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang attended the Meeting of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Council.

At the ACC meeting, the highest preparatory body of the ASEAN Summit, the ASEAN foreign ministers checked for the final time preparations for ASEAN-18, scheduled to take place on May 7-8, and finalised draft joint statements to be submitted to ASEAN-18 for approval.

Draft joint statements include the ideas statement towards the joint statement on the ASEAN Community among the global community at the 19 th ASEAN Summit in November 2011, the joint statement on the establishment of the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation and the joint statement on strengthening cooperation in the fight against human trafficking in Southeast Asia .

The ministers heard reports of subordinate bodies and the ASEAN Secretary General on the implementation of the roadmap for building the ASEAN Community as well as the ASEAN Connectivity Initiative and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI). They discussed measures to speed up the performance of the master plan on the building of ASEAN communities.

The ministers debated measures and methods to strengthen ASEAN’s central role in regional mechanisms and forums. To prepare for the attendance of Russian and US leaders in the expanded East Asia Summit later this year, the ministers agreed to invite Russia and the US to join in the preparation process.

At the APSC meeting, the ministers applauded progress in the performance of the master plan on building the APSC, particularly in 14 prioritised areas, and the effective implementation of mechanisms for regional peace, stability and cooperation, including the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ), the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

At the AMM, the ministers reviewed and debated ways to deploy the results achieved at ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meetings since the beginning of this year.

ASEAN-18 will officially open in Jakarta on May 7, with a series of plenary and retreat sessions of ASEAN leaders./.