HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính said he hopes major powers, who are all partners to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to work towards stable relations and responsible, healthy competition, for the sake of regional and global peace and security.
The Vietnamese Government leader made the statement as he addressed the highly anticipated US-ASEAN Special Summit on Friday (May 13, US time), the first one to have been held in Washington DC during the 45 years of US-ASEAN partnership. The summit includes a meeting between ASEAN leaders and US President Joe Biden, a session between ASEAN leaders and US Vice President Kamala Harris on maritime security and COVID-19, and a session between ASEAN leaders and the US cabinet on climate, clean energy, and infrastructure.
US leaders have announced a range of proposals and initiatives for cooperation with ASEAN. The US will invest US$40 million to finance the development of clean energy infrastructure, another $40 million to strengthen maritime cooperation, $150 million to implement the ASEAN-US Health Futures initiative, provide support for ASEAN's climate change response capacity enhancement and infrastructure development, and $70 million for educational programmes and people-to-people exchanges.
ASEAN leaders thanked the US for its proactive support in responding to COVID-19, helping to improve disease response capacity, providing vaccines, and recently establishing the Southeast Asia Regional Office of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Hà Nội, Việt Nam. ASEAN member states expect the US to continue backing ASEAN's pandemic prevention initiatives.
Recognising that the global and regional situation continues to witness complicated developments with many new challenges arising, ASEAN and the US affirmed to work closely together to contribute to the maintenance of peace, security and stability in the region, including security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea. The US affirmed its support for ASEAN's position on the South China Sea issue, welcomed ASEAN’s efforts to promote cooperation, dialogue, and confidence-building in the region, and strive to build an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) in line with international laws, and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Regarding the situation in Myanmar, the countries called for restraint, reducing tensions and violence, ensuring people's safety and the full implementation of ASEAN's Five-point Consensus, and welcomed the ASEAN Chair's efforts to support Myanmar in stabilising the situation and finding sustainable solutions to current problems.
With regard to Ukraine, as for all nations, the US and ASEAN reaffirmed their respect for sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity, while calling for compliance with the UN Charter and international law to peacefully handle conflicts.
During the session chaired by US President Joe Biden, PM Chính thanked the warm and stately welcome of the US.
Looking back on the past 45 years, ASEAN-US cooperation had made great strides, making important contributions to promoting dialogue, building trust, and maintaining peace, security, stability, and development in the region, he noted.
In the face of complex and unpredictable developments in the region and the world, PM Chính emphasised the need to continue to promote "frank dialogue on the basis of trust and responsibility, solidarity, cooperation, managing of conflicts and upholding the law, to contribute to the realisation of a world of peace, stability, cooperation, and prosperous development."
PM Chính expressed his hope that major powers and ASEAN's partners, could bring their relations into a stable state in a healthy and responsible manner, and at the same time contribute to Southeast Asia in keeping with the spirit of transparency, constructiveness, with the utmost respect for ASEAN's central role, full consultation with ASEAN, respect for international law, to help contribute to peace, security, and stability in the region and the world.
Việt Nam reaffirmed ASEAN's principled position concerning the South China Sea issue, emphasising the peaceful resolution of all disputes and differences based on international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.
PM Chính said Việt Nam welcomed all partners' support for ASEAN to fully and effectively implement the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and to develop an effective and substantive COC consistent with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.
At the Summit's session on maritime security and COVID-19, PM Chính welcomed the US initiatives to strengthen maritime cooperation with the region.
He also stressed that all countries, including ASEAN countries and the US, shared the importance and interests in guaranteeing peace, stability, security, safety, freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, considered a major lifeline of the world's maritime trade.
PM Chính thanked the US for its support for Việt Nam's COVID-19 pandemic response, including the provision of COVID-19 vaccines for Việt Nam.
Mentioning Việt Nam's achievements in pandemic control and the ongoing economic recovery, the Vietnamese Government leader emphasised building a global approach to addressing global issues.
PM Chính stated that the pandemic had an impact on everyone, so it was necessary to have a people-centric approach, with consideration to the health and lives of the people being the top priority, and that people should be placed at the centre of pandemic response and in the post-pandemic recovery processes.
He urged the US to continue to support ASEAN in disease prevention and control, especially in the transferring of vaccine and medication production technology, improving healthcare system capacity and healthcare workers' quality, as well as assisting ASEAN countries, including Việt Nam, in taking care of and providing support for the vulnerable groups most affected by COVID-19.
Addressing the session on climate, PM Chính expressed the hope that the US would continue to advance effective cooperation within the framework of the Mekong-US Partnership, contributing to ensuring equitable and sustainable development in the region.
The Vietnamese PM also praised countries' cooperative efforts in responding to climate change, through economic structural transformation, application of scientific and technical advances, development of renewable energy, promotion of clean energy transition, the building of high-quality infrastructure, and shifts towards green and sustainable development.
At the end of the Special Summit, the leaders of the countries adopted a Joint Vision Statement reflecting the results achieved in the past 45 years and setting future directions.
In particular, US and ASEAN are committed to establishing an ASEAN-US Comprehensive Strategic Partnership that is substantive, effective and mutually beneficial at the 10th ASEAN-US Summit slated for November 2022, and look forward to the early completion of the necessary procedures. — VNS
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