(VOV) – Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and leaders of other ASEAN countries and Japan on December 14 attended a commemorative summit to mark the 40th founding anniversary of ASEAN – Japan dialogue relations.
He praised Japan’s constant efforts to positively contribute to maintaining regional peace, stability, cooperation, and development; supporting the foundation of an ASEAN community; strengthening regional connectivity; narrowing development gaps; developing the Mekong Sub-Region; and promoting the sustainable use of water resources.
Concerning regional issues, PM Dung stressed the importance of maritime security in the East Sea, reiterating Vietnam’s shared belief all disputes should be settled peacefully in accordance with international legislation like the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).
He urged concerned parties to work on formulating a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) as soon as possible, taking exisiting international law and the regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as a starting point.
ASEAN and Japanese leaders took advantage of the opportunity to share their positive assessments of the vigorous development and tremendous achievements recorded during their 40-year history of cooperation.
ASEAN leaders echoed PM Dung’s praise for Japan’s active cooperation with and enthusiastic championing of the regional bloc’s ambitions.
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe said the five principles supporting his country’s foreign policy place great value on strengthening relations and cooperation with ASEAN in all fields and consolidating the organisation’s centrality to regional dynamics.
Abe confirmed Japan’s commitment to continuing the backing for ASEAN PM Dung acknowledged in his speech.
PM Abe pledged US$20 billion in aid to projects linking ASEAN member nations and narrowing regional development gaps over the next five years.
Japan promised another US$100 million to the ASEAN-Japan Integration Fund and US$3.3 billion to cooperative ASEAN programs improving management capacity and natural disaster preparedness.
An Asian centre will be established to facilitate inter-ASEAN student, artist, and youth exchanges.
ASEAN and Japanese leaders approved a statement outlining their shared vision for ASEAN-Japan friendship and cooperation, initial plans to make that vision a reality, and joint ASEAN-Japan statement on regional and global issue cooperation.
ASEAN and Japan will expand their cooperation in managing and responding to natural disasters, preventing terrorism and transnational crime, and promoting trade and investment.
They also intend to finalise negotiations on a range of trade, service, and investment agreements oriented towards the eventual creation of an ASEAN-Japan Free Trade Area.
These agreements will develop human resources, reinforce maritime security, and promote cultural, educational, and tourism exchanges.