Vietnam urges promoting the role of ASEAN-led mechanisms
Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son shared his view on the urgency of enhancing the role of ASEAN-led mechanisms, such as the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), during a retreat held on July 12 in Jakarta as part of the ongoing 56th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-56) and related meetings.
The purpose of the retreat is to discuss the international and regional situation, alongside orientations for the mechanisms founded by the bloc.
As part of his speech, Minister Son asked the bloc to guarantee the mechanisms’ goals, principles, openness, and inclusiveness on the basis of a balanced and objective approach to meet the legitimate interests of all relevant parties.
He therefore voiced support for the regional bloc to boost relations with partners and encourage the participation of and contributions by partners in the region to help it build the community whilst together responding to common challenges.
Partners also need to respect the centrality of ASEAN in terms of both words and actions, while joining ASEAN in building up trust, narrowing differences, and promoting dialogue and sincere co-operation, he went on to say.
The Vietnamese diplomat shared the bloc’s principled stance on international and regional issues, expressed support for the bloc to help Myanmar seek solutions, thereby affirming the value of the Five-Point Consensus (5PC) and hailing efforts made by the ASEAN Chair and the Special Envoy. He stressed that the solution to the Myanmar issue must be decided by the country.
Regarding the East Sea issue, FM Son underscored the importance of ensuring a favourable environment for the negotiation on a code of conduct (COC) in the waters. He therefore called on ASEAN to remain steadfast in its principled stance, uphold international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), whilst together building the East Sea into a sea of peace and co-operation.
At the retreat, ministers shared views on the uncertain and complicated situation filled with latent risks at present, especially the strategic competition among superpowers, transnational security issues, and complex developments in many hot spots. Amid this context, the most important thing for the bloc is to sustain solidarity, actively consult to seek appropriate response modalities, and maintain a balanced and harmonious approach in external relations.
They emphasised the importance of complying with the common principles, standards, and values outlined in documents such as the ASEAN Charter, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), the 1982 UNCLOS, and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).
Participants also discussed directions for enhancing the bloc’s centrality in the regional architecture by improving the efficiency of ASEAN-led mechanisms, thereby allowing them to live up to their original goals and development potential.
They affirmed ASEAN’s wish to expand and intensify relations with partners, stressing that the participation of partners in the region must be based on respect for ASEAN’s centrality, win-win co-operation, and contributions to the building of an open, transparent, inclusive, and rules-based regional architecture.
Regarding international and regional issues of shared interest, ministers voiced concerns about the ongoing complex situation in Myanmar. They recommended that ASEAN sustain solidarity, bring into play its centrality in helping the country, and guarantee its image and reputation.
The value of the 5PC and the ASEAN leaders’ 2022 decision on the 5PC implementation remains intact, and there are still the documents orienting the bloc’s efforts, officials said, expressing support for efforts made by the ASEAN Chair and the Special Envoy to continue their constructive dialogue with Myanmar and persistently help the country seek feasible and durable solutions.
The ministers also agreed that ASEAN should actively increase humanitarian assistance for Myanmar, particularly via the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management.
At the event, they reaffirmed the bloc’s principled stance on the East Sea issue and pledged to fully and effectively carry out the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), as well as to work towards a substantive and effective COC that matches international law, including UNCLOS.
The retreat also called on partners to respect ASEAN’s centrality and stance, especially on the issues related to regional peace, security, and stability.