ASEAN strengthening cooperation with China, Japan, RoK

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh 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.
September 10, 2020 | 14:48
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Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh speaks at the 21st ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. (Photo: VNA)

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh attended the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting held online within the framework ofthe 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM 53) and relatedmeetings 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.

In the discussions, the ministers of China, Japan and the 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.

At the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting, the ASEAN ministers affirmed that the strategic partnership between ASEAN and China has brought about practical interests to both sides.

China is a comprehensive partner of ASEAN in all fields in community pillars. China is also the largest trade partner of ASEAN and has the biggest number of arrivals to ASEAN. ASEAN highly valued the cooperation and support of China in the fight against the pandemic, suggesting China positively engage in ASEAN’s initiatives including the ASEAN Fund for COVID-19 Response, the regional emergency reserve of medical supplies.

ASEAN applauded China’s cooperation and support in the fight against COVID-19, and suggested the country actively participate in the grouping’s initiatives like the COVID-19 response fund, regional reserves of medical supplies and recovery framework.

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Deputy PM and FM Pham Binh Minh attended the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting. Photo: VGP

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.

At the 21st ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Minh said this is time for the ASEAN+3 mechanism to prove its value and capacity in the pandemic combat, and suggested China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK) continue their coordination with ASEAN in this regard, towards sustainable regional recovery.

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.

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Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh co-chairs the 21st ASEAN 3 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. (Photo: VNA)

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.

He also suggested the two sides make the best use of the ASEAN-Japan Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

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

ASEAN lauded the RoK for its support in the pandemic combat and called on the country to assist the grouping in digital transformation, the application of new technologies and optimising opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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

On regional and international situation, the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and partner countries exchanged ideas on issue of common concern like the situation on the Korean Peninsula, Rakhine state and the East Sea/South China Sea. They stressed the need for close coordination, strengthened dialogues and cooperation on the basis of upholding the rule of the law and common standards. They shared a joint viewpoint on maintaining peace, stability, safety and security, freedom of navigation and aviation in the region, including the East Sea; and stressed the importance of settling the disputes by peaceful measures on the basis of international law.

Speaking at the meetings, Minh affirmed that as the Chair of the ASEAN 2020, Vietnam will, together with other ASEAN members, actively work out measures and policies to further deepen the relations of strategic cooperation with the partners. He asked the partner countries to continue supporting ASEAN in the building of the Community, and proposed to intensify the cooperation among the sides in the research and production of vaccines and medicines against COVID-19.

On international and regional situation, Minh expressed his concerns on the complicated development in the East Sea while states are focusing their efforts against the pandemic. Legitimate rights and interests of the sides must be ensured, and differences and disputes settled on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, he stressed.

The official asked the sides to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of the Sides in the East Sea/South China Sea (DOC) and to soon resume the negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

Repeating ASEAN’s stance on the East Sea at the 36th ASEAN Summit in June 2020, Minh called on the sides to intensify the building of trust and mutual trust, and to prevent the acts that complicate the situation and affect peace and stability.

There must be no militarisation while the disputes must be settled through peaceful measures with respect to international law, he stressed.

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