Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh
Among Major Nations, ASEAN Need to Maintain Central Role
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and leaders of ASEAN member states attended a retreat on global and regional issues on September 5, as part of the ongoing 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, VNA reported.
Speaking at the event, PM Chinh said amid intense competition among major nations, in order to maintain ASEAN’s central role, the only answer is to harness the inherent strength, and strengthen internal unity to assert strategic value.
ASEAN countries must uphold the spirit of independence, self-reliance, self-resilience, and respect for the rule of law, and stay steadfast to their fundamental principles and norms of conduct, he said.
|Photo: Media Center of the ASEAN Summit 2023|
At the center of the competition, ASEAN needs to maintain a strategic balance with major countries. It must truly become a reliable bridge with the capacity to regulate and balance relationships and interests, while steadfastly pursuing the goal of building an open, transparent, and inclusive regional structure. Most importantly, the bloc must maintain its principled stance on issues directly related to regional security and development, he added.
On global and regional issues, the Vietnamese PM stressed that ASEAN needs to make efforts to enhance unity and maintain and consolidate its common stance on the East Sea. It is both the shared interest and responsibility of all member countries, he asserted.
According to him, ASEAN should urge its partners to respect this stance when operating in the East Sea, especially principles such as self-restraint, peaceful settlement of disputes, respect for international law, and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Additionally, the group should persevere with the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and strive to build a practical and effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in line with international law and the UNCLOS 1982.
|MCI Photo by Chwee|
On the Myanmar situation, he expressed support for further proactive engagement to encourage peaceful dialogue, build trust, increase mutual understanding, and work towards a comprehensive and sustainable solution for the Myanmar issue. He also supported Indonesia as the Chair of ASEAN and the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar in leading the bloc's efforts based on the 5-point consensus of regional leaders.
He affirmed that Vietnam will work closely with Laos, the Chair of ASEAN in 2024, to continue stepping up ASEAN's cooperation goals.
The Vietnamese PM, along with ASEAN leaders, also agreed to assist the Philippines in assuming the role of ASEAN Chair in 2026.
The same day, PM Pham Minh Chinh met his Timor Leste counterpart Xanana Gusmao and they agreed to increase the exchange of delegations to promote the traditional friendship and connectivity between the two countries.
The two leaders emphasized the need to effectively implement the signed agreements, and soon complete the negotiations to sign the Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement and ratify the trade agreement between the two countries.
They also underlined the importance of boosting cooperation in the fields of trade and investment, tourism, culture, education, and people-to-people exchange, while studying new areas of cooperation that suit the development needs of Timor Leste and the potential and strengths of Vietnam such as agro-forestry and fisheries, digital transformation and green transition.
|Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (right) and his Timor Leste counterpart Xanana Gusmao on September 5. Photo: Primeiro-Ministro RDTL: Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão/FB|
PM Chinh asked Timor Leste to support and create favourable conditions for Vietnamese companies to participate in and implement investment projects, and promptly resolve pending legal issues to encourage foreign investment in its territory.
Sharing Timor Leste's concern over the threat of food shortages due to the impact of declining global rice exports and climate change, he affirmed that Vietnam is ready to support and strengthen rice trade with Timor Leste, urging the two countries to begin negotiations toward the signing of a rice trade agreement between the two governments to create a long-term legal framework for bilateral cooperation.
For his part, Gusmao affirmed that Timor Leste always attaches importance to promoting relations with Vietnam. He agreed with PM Chinh's proposals which aimed at promoting cooperation, especially in the fields of telecommunications, trade investment, and the rice sector.
Highlighting the important contributions of Telemor, a subsidiary of the Vietnamese group Viettel, to the development of Timor Leste's telecom industry, he pledged to resolve difficulties for foreign investors, including Viettel.
The two Prime Ministers affirmed that they will continue to support each other and coordinate effectively in regional and international multilateral forums
PM Chinh invited his Timor Leste counterpart to visit Vietnam and the latter accepted the invitation with pleasure.
On September 6 morning, PM Chinh and ASEAN leaders attended the ASEAN 1 Summits with China, the Republic of Korea, and Japan.
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