AMM-53: Vietnam expresses concerns over serious incidents in Bien Dong Sea

Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh frankly expressed concerns over recent complex developments and serious incidents in Bien Dong Sea, which have gone contrary to international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), violated the legitimate rights and interests of littoral countries, intensified tensions, and undermined peace and security in the regional water.
September 10, 2020 | 06:37
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AMM 53: Vietnam expresses concerns over serious incidents in Bien Dong Sea
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh speaks at the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting. Photo: VNA

He made the remark while attended the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting held online within the framework of the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM 53) and related meetings on September 9.

He also co-chaired the 21st ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the ASEAN-Japan Ministerial Meeting, and attended the ASEAN-RoK Ministerial Meeting.

AMM 53 is one of the highlights of Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship this year. The event consists of 20 meetings via video conference, joined by 27 delegations from four continents of different time zones. They include the 21st ASEAN 3 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the 10th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and the 27th ASEAN Regional Forum.

Minh called for strengthening ASEAN solidarity and coordinated voices and actions, taking actions on the basis of reached principles, including those enshrined in the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Statement on importance of maintaining peace and stability in Southeast Asia issued on August 8.

At the meetings, ASEAN Foreign Ministers reiterated their strong commitment to maintain the Southeast Asia region of peace, stability, security and neutrality amidst rising global uncertainties.

The ministers approved Five-Year Work Plan 2021-2025 of the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and its Priority Program for 2021.

Regarding the bloc’s external relations, the regional ministers agreed on the need to organize ASEAN-Australia Summit annually and granted development partner status to Italy and France.

They also adopted measures to improve operating prodecures of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

For regional and international issues of common concern, the ministers reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in Bien Dong Sea (internationally called South China Sea).

In the face of recent complex developments, the foreign ministers agreed that ASEAN needs to consistently hold onto its principled position, urging for self-restraint, non-militarization, and peaceful settlement of disputes.

They called for further upholding international law, especially the 1982 UNCLOS.

The ministers reaffirmed the importance of full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and continued effforts in formulating an effective and practical Code of Conduct in the East Sea in accordance with international law and the UNCLOS.

In addition, ASEAN committed to continue offering assistance to Myanmar to handle humanitarian situation in the Rakhine state and reiterating their position of supporting a peaceful, stable and nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

The member countries applauded Vietnam, as the current ASEAN Chair, for having putting forward initiatives to promote coordination in COVID-19 fight, ASEAN Community building process, and consolidation of the ASEAN centrality.

At the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting, the two sides agreed to step up cooperation in such priority areas as digital economic development, cyber security, natural disaster response, people-to-people exchange and maritime collaboration, while pushing ahead with the building of the ASEAN-China action plan for 2021-2025.

AMM 53: Vietnam expresses concerns over serious incidents in Bien Dong Sea
The 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting held in virtual format on September 9, 2020. Photo: VGP

At the 21st ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the ministers consented to continue implementing the resolutions adopted by leaders at the Special ASEAN+3 Summit on COVID-19, and committed to enhancing cooperation in food security via the ASEAN+3 Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR), digital transformation, regional financial and economic stability through the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM) Agreement, and health care.

They were also resolved to soon conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.

At the ASEAN-Japan Ministerial Meeting, Minh called on Japan to continue its support to and engagement in ASEAN’s initiatives relating to COVID-19 and soon help with the establishment of the ASEAN centre for public health emergencies and emerging diseases in 2020.

Meanwhile, during the ASEAN-RoK Ministerial Meeting, the two sides affirmed their resolve to enhance cooperation to consolidate the strategic partnership.

The ministers approved the action plan between ASEAN and the RoK for 2021-2025.

In the discussions, the ministers of China, Japan and RoK expressed their desire for strengthening the cooperation among the sides, their high valuation of the ASEAN’s effective response to the COVID-19, and readiness to support ASEAN’s initiatives in the pandemic fight./.

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