|Participants of the Meeting
The meetings focused on reviewing the regional situation and discussing orientations for cooperation in the ASEAN + 3 and EAS frameworks, and preparing an agenda and documents for ministerial conferences in the Philippines in August 2017.
Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung, Head of the SOM ASEAN of Vietnam led a Vietnamese delegation to attend the meetings.
At the SOM ASEAN+3 (between ASEAN and 3 nations, namely China, Japan and Republic of Korea), participating nations reconfirmed the need to further attach importance to the role of ASEAN +3 and highly valued the contribution of this cooperation mechanism over the past 20 years.
Regarding the orientation for regional cooperation, the meeting noted the process of developing the 2018-2022 Working Plan to replace the current 2013-2017 one, to submit to the ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting to be held in August 2017. At the same time, the meeting urged countries to actively contribute to the ASEAN+3 Fund to secure resources for cooperation.
The meeting also agreed to step up the implementation of the East Asia Vision Group’s (EAVG) recommendations and discussed specific measures to enhance trade liberalization, minimize non-tariff barriers, facilitate small and medium enterprises, ensure food security, develop sustainable tourism and promote people-to-people exchange.
At the SOM EAS (between ASEAN and its 8 partners, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States), member countries emphasized the need to maintain and consolidate EAS as a leading dialogue on strategic issues, active engagement with the ability to effectively respond to regional security and development challenges.
The meeting agreed to continue to implement effectively the Action Plan for the implementation of the Phnom Penh Declaration, especially strengthening cooperation in prioritized areas, including energy, education, finance, connectivity, health and disease prevention, environmental protection and disaster mitigation.
In addition, EAS officials also discussed proposals on a number of issues of common concern such as poverty reduction, disease prevention, terrorism and radicalization combat, non-proliferation of arms, security and marine cooperation.
At both meetings (SOM ASEAN + 3 and SOM EAS), partner countries highly valued the achievements made by ASEAN over the past 50 years of establishment and development; committed themselves to supporting the building of the ASEAN Community, ASEAN’s unity and ASEAN's central role for peace, security and cooperation in the region.
ASEAN and its partners also exchanged views on regional and international issues of common concern, in a frank and open manner, including the Korean Peninsula and East Sea.
They emphasized the importance of easing tensions, conducting dialogues and handling nuclear issues on the Korean peninsula peacefully in line with international law and related resolutions issued by the UN Security Council.
Many countries expressed their concerns over the East Sea issue, land reclamation and militarization in the sea.
In this circumstance, they stressed the need to solve all disputes by peaceful means and in accordance with the international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).
Member nations also applauded efforts made by ASEAN and China in seriously and fully realizing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) as well as new progress in building the framework of a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea, laying a foundation for the completion of a practical, effective and legally binding COC.
The ASEAN Regional Forum SOM is scheduled on May 24 to look into security cooperation in the region and prepare for the 24th ARF Foreign Ministers Meeting in August.By Duy Tien