PM shores up international support at EAS

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc yesterday called for more international support in resolving maritime issues, especially the East Sea (South China Sea) dispute.

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc yesterday called for more international support in resolving maritime issues, especially the East Sea (South China Sea) dispute.

The 11th East Asia Summit took place in Vientiane, Laos yesterday with the participation of Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc. (Photo: VNA/VNS)
The 11th East Asia Summit took place in Vientiane, Laos yesterday with the participation of Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc. (Photo: VNA/VNS)

At the 11th East Asia Summit (EAS) held in Laos yesterday, the Vietnamese leader emphasised the need to build and strengthen trust among countries, promote the role of multilateral institutions in the region, and build a foundation for the region’s order so as to ensure peace, stability, co-operation and development.

Compliance with international law must be ensured and a code of conduct for countries should be built, he said. The regional countries need to fight shore up against unilateral actions, imposition, intimidation, or uses of force, he noted.

The EAS and other forums held by ASEAN have created a relatively firm foundation for shaping a future regional architecture, he said, underscoring the necessity to improve the EAS’s efficiency and consider marine co-operation as a new prioritised area.

He called on all parties to show goodwill and determination in entering a new phase of transforming the East Sea into a region of peace, stability, co-operation and development.

The current situation requires substantive trust-building measures and preventive diplomacy, especially the effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conducts of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and expeditious approval a Code of Conduct (COC) in 2017.

He said Việt Nam welcomes the Guidelines for Hotline Communications among ASEAN foreign ministry senior officials and China in response to maritime emergencies in the implementation of the DOC, and the Joint Statement on the Application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) in the East Sea.

Leaders attending the EAS emphasised the importance of ensuring peace, stability, maritime and aviation security, safety and freedom in the South China Sea.

The leaders argued for the peaceful settlement of disputes with respect to international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and diplomatic and legal processes, as well as self-restraint in avoiding militarisation.

EAS leaders approved the Vientiane Declaration on Promoting Infrastructure Development Co-operation in East Asia, and the EAS Declaration on Strengthening Responses to Migrants in Crisis and Trafficking in Persons.

ASEAN-India links boosted

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc also attended the ASEAN Plus One Summits with the US and India in Vientiane yesterday.

At the 14th ASEAN-India Summit, both sides agreed to continue boosting trade and investment towards a US$200 billion value by 2022, a sizeable leap from the $58.7 billion made in 2015.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi affirmed that India gives ASEAN an important position in its Act East policy and wants to become a trusted partner of the bloc to boost peace and prosperity in the region.

He also announced the additional provision of $50 million for the ASEAN-India Co-operation Fund and wanted to speed up the implementation of digital and infrastructure connectivity projects through the use of India’s $1-billion credit.

Việt Nam will play a major role as coordinator of ASEAN-India relations between 2015 and 2018. PM Phúc asked both sides to enhance co-operation to tap into their potential and political commitments.

India, a prestigious and powerful nation in the region and the world, should work with ASEAN to bring into play the role of international institutions, urge for adherence to international law, prevent conflicts, build trust, and peacefully resolve disputes, he said.

The two sides need to take concrete measures to promote trade, investment and infrastructure and digital connectivity, thereby tightening connections between ASEAN and India. They should also pay due attention to collaboration in science-technology as it is of India’s strength while the bloc has high demand for.

US co-operation key

During the fourth ASEAN-US Summit, the two sides appreciated practical developments in the ASEAN-US relationship since it was lifted to a strategic partnership level in November 2015.

The Vietnamese PM suggested ASEAN and the US boost co-operation in economics, investment, trade, environmental protection, science-technology, education-training, startup support, and climate change response. They should make more joint efforts to deal with non-traditional security challenges such as terrorism and infectious epidemics.

He suggested the US continue implementing the Lower Mekong Initiative and helping the Mekong countries improve their capacity for climate change adaptation, water resource management and sustainable use.

Laos handed over the 2017 ASEAN Chairmanship to the Philippines as the 2016 ASEAN Summits finally wrapped up yesterday.

Bilateral meetings

PM Phúc also had a meeting with his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbul in Vientiane yesterday during which he asked for Australia’s assistance in climate change response, sustainable development, and education.

He proposed that Australia widen its doors to Vietnamese farming products and speed up the risk assessment procedures concerning Vieät Nam’s dragon fruit.

The PM met UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the same day, during which he lauded the UN’s responses to global challenges.

As an active and responsible member of the international community, Việt Nam commits to joining the UN’s efforts and initiatives, he pledged, committing that the country is implementing sustainable development goals and integrating the work into its socio-economic development plans.

Việt Nam hopes for more aid from the UN, aid that will allow them to realistically cope with climate change and secure sustainable development, he stated.

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