At the two forums held in Manila from October 3-5, ASEAN and its partners discussed ways of promoting regional maritime security and cooperation, combating piracy, strengthening maritime connectivity, training seamen, protecting the marine environment and boosting eco-tourism and fishery operations.
They agreed to take advantage of maritime cooperation opportunities to enhance mutual confidence in maintaining peace, stability, maritime security and safety in the region.
They underlined the need to respect international law and relevant documents including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).
All disputes should be settled by peaceful means to prevent them from escalating into conflicts, they stressed.
The participants reviewed the results of regional maritime security cooperation at the first and second AMFs and agreed to enhance ASEAN’s central role in the expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF).
At the EAMF, the countries discussed the role of the UNCLOS which serves as a legal foundation for ensuring the code of conduct and dealing with disputes and maritime cooperation.
Some ASEAN countries proposed organizing training courses, building a legal framework for fishing industry and increasing legal cooperation in combating piracy, protecting the environment and developing sea tourism.
In his speech, Deputy FM Vinh presented Vietnam’s stance on boosting regional maritime cooperation based on international law and the UNCLOS for the benefit of each nation as well as the whole region.
He stressed ASEAN’s central role in coordinating regional maritime cooperation efforts, and defining priority areas in the region.
It is imperative to implement ASEAN’s relevant initiatives for regional cooperation in protecting the marine environment, coping with natural disasters and providing assistance to sea travellers, boats and ships in distress, Vinh added.