HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính wants an environment of peace, security, stability, and cooperation for ASEAN to continue focusing on pandemic response, post-pandemic recovery and regional prosperity.
The Vietnamese leader made the statement as he attended the 39th ASEAN Summit held virtually on Tuesday under the Chair of Brunei, with a focus on regional issues.
At the summit, PM Chính expressed concerns over the recent complicated developments that have direct impacts on regional stability, putting both ASEAN centrality and the group's reputation on the line in this challenging period.
He noted that the core value and strength of ASEAN over the past 54 years had been its solidarity, which means, first and foremost, the grouping needed to continue to remain united and provide assistance for Myanmar, especially when the people’s sufferings are compounded by COVID-19.
One of the main priorities for ASEAN right now is to maintain its solidarity and image to handle the ASEAN Community's many issues as well as the bloc's relations with its partners.
With regards to the South China Sea, Vietnamese PM stressed ASEAN needed to demonstrate its fortitude and self-reliance in the upholding of peace, security and stability in the South China Sea, a strategic sea with 'proximate' interests to all countries in the region.
According to the PM, ASEAN needs to remain resolute to its principled stance on the South China Sea (known in Việt Nam as East Sea), and strongly work to promote countries' commitment to abide by international law, behave responsibly, exercise self-restraint, and refrain from actions that cause tension or complicate the situation.
At the same time, countries in the region should further cooperate on issues of common interest such as conservation of the marine environment, addressing issues related to illegal fishing, humanitarian assistance to fishermen and seafarers.
ASEAN should fully and effectively implement the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea, promote the early completion of the Code of Conduct (COC) to the best of their efforts, and work together with China to achieve an effective and substantive COC in accordance with international law and the United Nations' Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.
PM Chính also said ASEAN should have a 'unified' perspective on regional and global issues, be welcoming of partners that uphold the spirit of responsibility, constructiveness, and respect to international law, and do not attempt to affect peace, stability, cooperation, and development in the region, respect the role of ASEAN and hold comprehensive consultation with ASEAN through various mechanisms and forums established and led by ASEAN. — VNS
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