Vietnam backs establishment of resilient, innovative ASEAN hinh anh 1Heads of delegation to ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat (Source: VNA)

Singapore (VNA)Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh welcomed the Singapore-proposed theme of building a resilient and innovative Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) while addressing the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat (AMM Retreat) in Singapore on February 5-6.

He affirmed that Vietnam will work closely with other bloc member nations to ensure the success of ASEAN 2018. 

The diplomat said regional self-reliance should be promoted in all aspects, both politically and economically, to create a momentum for ASEAN to push ahead with a new development period.

Additionally, the association needs to highly appreciate fundamental principles to strengthen solidarity and unification, especially seeking a common voice in regional matters of mutual concerns and benefits.

While mentioning ASEAN external relations, Minh proposed ASEN build a balanced and effective approach to extra-bloc relations. It is necessary to improve the operational efficiency of mechanisms and forums set up by ASEAN as tools to maintain its central role in the region.

He suggested member countries stand firm with ASEAN viewpoints about regional and international issues of mutual concerns, including those on the East Sea issue. 

The ASEAN member states should be fully aware of peace, stability, security and safety of aviation and navigation in the East Sea as well as reiterate commitments to resolving disputes via peaceful means and in line with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS), he said.

During the process of building the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), countries need to implement fully the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the Ease Sea (DOC) and speed up measures to reinforce trust, Minh said.

He hoped ASEAN and China will have more practical exchanges to reach an effective and binding COC, making significant contributions to promoting peace and stability in the region.

During the AMM Retreat, ministers reviewed the implementation of the outcomes of the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila in November 2017 and defined cooperation priorities in 2018.

They agreed to build an ASEAN of resilience and innovation, stressing that increasing all-faceted self-reliance of the region in politics-security and economics-trade aims to strengthen solidarity and the central role of ASEAN.

Concluding the AMM Retreat, the host Singapore as Chairman of ASEAN 2018 issued a joint press statement on the outcomes of the meeting.-VNA