Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung delivered remarks at the 23 rd Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Brunei on October 9, stressing the need for the group to maintain its consensus and promote its key role and voice in regional peace, security and development.

Following is the full text of the remarks.

“Your Majesty the Sultan,

Dear Colleagues,

At the outset, I would like to congratulate Your Majesty, the country and people of Brunei Darussalam on your assumption of the 2013 ASEAN Chair. The ASEAN Chairmanship not only places an enormous responsibility upon Brunei Darussalam but also presents a great pride for your country. I am confident that under the chair of Your Majesty, the 23 rd ASEAN Summit and its related meetings will be crowned with success, providing a strong impetus for our Association in its advance towards an ASEAN Community by 2015 and towards a deep-going and wide-ranging course of regional integration beyond 2015.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I highly appreciate the Overview Report of the ASEAN Secretary-General on the ongoing work of ASEAN. Sharing the views of ASEAN Colleagues, and in accordance with our Summit Agenda, I wish to share with you some thoughts
1. On the establishment of ASEAN Community by 2015: Our Association is at a crucial moment when the determination to successfully establish ASEAN Community by 2015 is being upheld, and the vision and orientations for ASEAN to continue promoting unity and robust development in the decades beyond 2015 are being crafted.

1.1 For ASEAN Community to be built by 2015, we need to continue our determination and efforts to complete on schedule and at maximum level the targets set forth in the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community for 2009-2015 on all three pillars. Each member country should be active and double efforts to fulfil its responsibilities, including the design and adjustment of appropriate national development policies to ensure the priorities and pace of regional integration until 2015. To uphold ASEAN’s efforts on all the Community’s three pillars, I wish to underline further the following points:

Firstly , we need to continuously push forward economic integration, regional linkages and connectivity. Particularly, focus should be made on the implementation of 227 priority measures to achieve the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015. Besides, efforts should be made to boost economic cooperation frameworks with partner countries and to develop the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). We need to intensify the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) and expand integration and connectivity to the entire East Asian region.

Secondly , we need to continue our effort to consolidate a politically cohesive ASEAN, being proactive in making contributions to maintaining regional peace, stability as well as in responding effectively to emerging challenges. Accordingly, ASEAN needs to be proactive to intensify the development and sharing of norms of conduct, enhance the value and the effectiveness of existing regional cooperation instruments and mechanisms, including TAC, SEANWFZ, DOC, ASEAN+1, EAS, and ARF. At the same time, new cooperation mechanisms such as ADMM+, AMF, and EAMF should be put into effective operation and be coherent with existing regional frameworks and processes.

Thirdly , we should make more efforts to build the Cultural and Social Community to serve our peoples’ interest. In that light, I agree with the adoption of five important Statements of the 23 rd ASEAN Summit on the ASEAN Social and Cultural Community. I wish to take this chance to inform you that Vietnam will be hosting two activities of ASEAN disaster management this year, namely the 2013 ASEAN Regional Disaster Emergency Simulation Exercise (ARDEX) and the Partnership Conference on implementing ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) in October and November. I look forward to your support and close coordination to ensure the success of these events.

Lastly, the 31 st December 2015 will mark the birth of ASEAN Community. We must be well prepared for this momentous event. I suggest we task the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) to soon embark on a detailed plan for this event.

1.2 On the orientations of ASEAN Community beyond 2015: in light of the decision of the 22 nd ASEAN Summit, I support the endorsement of the Vision Statement Towards an ASEAN Community beyond 2015. I wish to suggest some orientations for our Association’s future as follows:

Firstly , the ASEAN Vision beyond 2015 must reflect a strategic and long-term perspective coupled with macro orientations to uplift the development of ASEAN Community on all three pillars, with ASEAN having a greater role, position and influence, and shouldering bigger responsibilities in the settlement of regional and global issues.

Secondly , ASEAN’s integration and connectivity beyond 2015 must be the continuity of the Community building process with increased intensity, scale and substance. This process must be expanded and cohesive to the regional integration process in East Asia , at multiple layers and levels in which ASEAN plays the central role.

Thirdly, we must uphold ASEAN’s leading role in expanding its relations with its partners and in securing regional peace, security and development. We need to continue enhancing and multiplying ASEAN’s values, principles and norms of conduct to become the common values and norms of the region. Efforts to effectively bring to full play the regional cooperation mechanisms and processes towards this end should be promoted.

Fourthly , we must continue to uphold the value of “a People-Centred ASEAN Community”, encourage the active engagement and more constructive contribution of the civil society to the development of ASEAN, so that the people in our region can truly become the centre of our Community.

Lastly, to serve the goal of building and implementing ASEAN Vision beyond 2015, we need an effective operating mechanism, in which the efficiency of and coordination among ASEAN bodies must be increased and the capacity of the ASEAN Secretariat strengthened.

To these ends, I suggest we task the ACC to work with ASEAN Ministers to conduct an overall review of the implementation of the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community and propose the ASEAN Vision beyond 2015 to be submitted to ASEAN Leaders next year.

2. On ASEAN’s centrality and external relations:
Most importantly, ASEAN must uphold its leading role and leading voice on issues relating to regional peace, security and development, as well as in an evolving regional architecture. In the context of swift changes in the region and in the relations among major powers, ASEAN, more than ever, must maintain consensus and unity, secure the Association's orientations and interests based on ASEAN Charter's goals and principles. ASEAN needs to support and encourage its partners to enhance their responsibility, participate in and make constructive contribution to regional cooperation, assist ASEAN in the Community building process, and join hands with ASEAN to tackle emerging challenges to the region, observe the existing principles and norms of conduct, for the common goals of peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region. ASEAN needs to bring to full play its central role in boosting economic linkages and regional connectivity through accelerating the negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), as well as cohering and regulating the participation of its partners in the initiatives to support ASEAN Connectivity and regional linkages.

We need to be proactive to deepen our relationship with the partners through implementing effectively ongoing programs and plans of action, elevating our relationship with important partners as well as strengthening ASEAN + 3 cooperation and the East Asian integration process. We need to further bring into full play the role of the East Asia Summit (EAS) as a Leaders' forum to discuss strategic issues relating to regional peace, security and development, including politics and security, economics, development cooperation and response to non- traditional security challenges.
4. On international and regional issues

Enormous opportunities for peace, cooperation and development are lying ahead of us, particularly in East Asia where increasing integration, linkages and connectivity, the establishment of free trade areas are taking place vigorously. Nonetheless, the risk of conflicts, tension are still present in many regions, demonstrated by violence in the Middle East and North Africa, Syria, or tensions in the Korean Peninsula, complex developments in the East China Sea and the East Sea of Vietnam. Therefore, we ask all parties concerned to fully respect international law, settle disputes by peaceful means, and act in a cautious and responsible manner.

With regard to the East Sea , it has been agreed by ASEAN that peace, stability, maritime security and safety and freedom of navigation in the East Sea are of common interest to the region and to all countries. All parties concerned need to settle disputes by peaceful means, exercise self-restraint, refrain from the use of force, observe international law, the 1982 UNCLOS, fully and effectively implement DOC and promote the formulation of COC. As the situation in the East Sea continues to evolve with complexity, ASEAN must continue to stand united, bring to full play its leading role in and common voice on the East Sea issue in accordance with ASEAN's Six-point Statement, support ASEAN and China to fully implement DOC and the Joint Statement of the Commemorative Summit to celebrate the 10th anniversary of DOC, and to soon achieve a COC.

On COC, we welcome the result of the first official consultation at SOM level between ASEAN and China on COC recently held in Suzhou . Yet, this is just an initial step. ASEAN and China must double efforts to maintain this positive momentum and push for substantive negotiation to soon achieve COC. In this process, ASEAN needs to stand united and share with China its common ground as agreed, particularly at ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Retreat in Hua Hin in August 2013, underlying that COC needs to be a comprehensive and binding Code of Conduct, upgraded from DOC, containing the principles and regulations on the conduct of parties as well as mechanisms aimed to prevent, manage and deal with risks, incidents and conflicts that may arise, to better secure peace, stability, maritime security and safety and freedom of navigation in the East Sea. Along with that goal, ASEAN and China need to continue efforts to fully and effectively implement all the principles and regulations of DOC. At the same time, both sides can consider and put in place a number of proposed initiatives such as search and rescue, establishment of hot lines, humanitarian assistance to persons and vessels in distress at sea, as well as other confidence building activities.

Amongst these common endeavours, we welcome the coordinating effort of Thailand . I believe that in so doing, ASEAN not only demonstrates its responsibility but also upholds its proactive role and orientations for securing peace, stability, maritime security and safety in the East Sea . Therefore, we must strive to make the upcoming ASEAN-China Joint Statement reflect the message and the resolve of ASEAN and China to secure peace and security in the East Sea , and to work towards an early formulation of COC”.-VNA