Scene at the forum (Photo: VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) – A Vietnamese delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh attended the 26th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Bangkok on August 2, within the framework of the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai affirmed the importance of ARF in promoting dialogues and political-security cooperation in the region.

He asked countries to seek measures to step up sustainable regional security based on international law, regional rules and standards and mutually-beneficial collaboration.

Ministers agreed to continue fully and effectively implementing the Hanoi Plan of Action 2010, the ARF Vision Statement and the past agreements, focusing on priority fields of search and rescue, fight against terrorism and trans-national crimes, maritime security, non-proliferation of mass-destruction weapons, peace maintenance, and new security challenges such as cyber security.

They adopted ARF’s declarations on peace and security, fight against terrorism and extreme violence, action plans for 2019-2020, including activities and seminars featuring different security topics, ranging from ensuring security, raising public awareness of marine space, search and rescue, to response to cyber security incidents.

Amid rapid changes in the world and in the region, ASEAN minsters agreed to continue carrying out measures to improving the ARF to help the forum maintain its role and boost adaptability toward current challenges.

They said they will examine the ARF Vision Statement and the Hanoi Plan of Action 2010 to set out new development orientations for the forum in the new period.

Discussing international and regional matters, the ministers acknowledged progress recorded on the Korean Peninsula, considering it a significant contribution to the long-term goal of peace, stability, and the denuclearisation of the peninsula.

They highlighted the importance of dialogues and cooperation in resolving differences and of the commitment to respecting relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.

The officials also exchanged their views on emerging security challenges such as extreme terrorism and violence, nuclear security, cyber safety, natural disasters and climate change.

About the East Sea issue, many ministers expressed their concerns over the recent complex developments, including a number of serious incidents in the region.

They continued to stress the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety, as well as free navigation and overflight in the waters; and spoke highly of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).

They called on parties involved to exercise restraint and refrain from militarisation as well as actions that could complicate the situation; and to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

Noting progress in the negotiations of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea, the ministers agreed that the current context requires an effective and practical COC in the East Sea that is in line with international law.

Addressing the event, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh spoke highly of ARF’s role and value in enhancing dialogues and cooperation in political-security issues of shared concern, and coping with regional challenges.

To intensify the adaptability to the rapidly changing security environment, the official suggested building a new development vision for the ARF in tandem with revamping the forum’s operation methods, considering this a major target in 2020.

Minh expressed his views on the significance of peace, stability and law respect in the region and the world.

He applauded the recent progress on the Korean Peninsula, including summits between leaders of the US and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and said he hopes the sides will maintain the progress momentum and continue dialogues in order to iron out their differences.

Regarding the East Sea issue, the official acknowledged progress in the negotiations of the COC.

He, however, also held that there are still grave concerns over developments in the area, including unilateral moves and serious incidents going on in the East Sea, particularly actions that have seriously violated sovereign right and jurisdiction of littoral countries.

Minh proposed the concerned countries uphold the respect of international law, including rights and interests of costal states in line with the UNCLOS 1982, fully and effectively observe the DOC, and maintain a favourable environment for negotiations in order to reach an effective and practical code.-VNA