Promoting its spirit of independence in behaviors and neutrality in addressing and balancing relations will help ASEAN avoid being passive in competition between powers, the PM said.
He, therefore, called on major countries participating in the region to show their sense of responsibility, respect international law, not to affect regional peace and stability, respect ASEAN's role, and fully consult ASEAN through mechanisms established and led by the grouping.
PM Chinh stressed the need to uphold intra-solidarity, core values and power, as well as responsibility and constructive spirit of all member countries, to help ASEAN reach consensus and carry forward its centrality and prestige.
The association should prove its mettle and self-reliance in maintaining peace, security and stability in the East Sea (South China Sea), he said.
While affirming Vietnam’s principled stance on the East Sea, the PM suggested countries promote commitments to observing international law, act responsibly, practice self-restraint, take no actions that would cause tensions and complicate the situation, and cooperate in issues of shared concern like maritime environmental protection, illegal fishing combat and humanitarian aid to fishermen, among others.
He also proposed fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and reaching an effective and efficient Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) between ASEAN and China as soon as possible in line with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982), which serves as a framework adjusting activities at sea.
PM Chinh expressed his sympathy with difficulties facing Myanmar, especially impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and called on parties to take action responsibly for the common interests of the region, push ahead with the implementation of the five-point consensus so that the association's envoy can visit the country as soon as possible, and increase humanitarian aid to Myanmar people.
The participating leaders shared the view that ASEAN needs to work harder to strengthen and deepen its partnerships, encourage the partners to support and practically contribute to the building of the ASEAN Community, and join efforts to deal with emerging challenges, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic and comprehensive and sustainable recovery.
They welcomed the U.K. becoming the 11th dialogue partner of ASEAN in August 2021.
The leaders said amid the current difficulties, ASEAN's centrality plays a key role that should be further consolidated and respected, and suggested promoting dialogue, trust building and cooperation for common interests.
They expressed their concern over the situation in the East Sea, including unilateral activities that have escalated tensions, eroded trust and destroyed the maritime environment.
The leaders reiterated the need to step up trust building, practice self-restraint, not to complicate the situation, and maintain peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea.
Leaders emphasized their stance on the settlement of disputes in the East Sea via peaceful measures on the basis of international law, including the UNCLOS 1982.
For the Myanmar matter, they agreed to provide more assistance for the country, affirming that solidarity is the key for ASEAN and Myanmar to find out effective solutions to the current complex issues in the country.
At the meeting, the ASEAN leaders also looked into other regional and international issues of shared concern, including the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
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