Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (4th, left) and other FMs at the 7th EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (Source: VNA)

 

Manila (VNA) –Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has
stressed the need for ASEAN 3 (ASEAN and China, the Republic of Korea and
Japan), the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) to
promote cooperation on the basis of ensuring ASEAN’s central role.



The
move aims to contribute to tackling regional security challenges and tightening
connectivity in the region, the official said at the 18th ASEAN 3
Foreign Ministers Meeting and the seventh EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in
Manila, the Philippines, on August 7. The events took place as part of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings.



Applauding
progress the ten-member group and its partners have made, FM Minh called on the
partners to continue helping ASEAN achieve goals towards building the ASEAN
Community 2025.



Regarding
future cooperation, he suggested ASEAN 3 focus on trade, finance and
intensifying capacity and regional connectivity, prioritising the development
of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.



At the
EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Minh said ASEAN should carry forward its
central role and consider maritime affiliation a new cooperation priority of
the EAS.



At the
18th ASEAN 3 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the delegates said ASEAN 3
has become a dynamic and effective cooperation framework, contributing to
peace, stability and development in East Asia.



They
lauded ASEAN 3’s recent fruitful collaboration, especially in implementing the
ASEAN Working Plan for 2013-2017 and action plans on the recommendations of the
East Asia Vision Group II.



Participating
countries underlined the significance of cooperation in stabilising regional
finance and showed their support for free and equal trade, mentioning negations
for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the enhancement of the
role of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation
Agreement in the regional financial network.



The FMs agreed to step up partnerships in coping with global
challenges such as food security, energy, climate change, natural disaster
management and diseases, while implementing initiatives in connectivity,
sustainable development, narrowing development gaps and tourism cooperation.



They approved the Working Plan for 2018-2022, which will dictate
ASEAN 3 cooperation for the next five years, and discussed preparations for a
summit marking the 20th anniversary of ASEAN 3 scheduled for
November 2017.



At the seventh EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the ministers
reiterated the role played by the EAS as a forum for leaders to debate
strategic issues and promote cooperation in maintaining peace, stability,
security and development in the region.



They praised the EAS’s efforts in implementing the six
priority areas of energy, education, finance, health care, natural disasters
management and connectivity, as well as measures to strengthen the EAS set in
the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the EAS.



They also commented on the outcomes of decisions from the 11th EAS in September 2016 and the action plan on implementing the Phnom Penh
Initiatives for 2015-2017.



The participants agreed to foster affiliation in the six
priority areas, set forth a new action plan and consider expanding priority
cooperation areas in maritime issues, terrorism combat and non-proliferation of
nuclear weapons.



On the occasion, the FMs candidly discussed regional and
international issues of shared concern, which have directly affected peace,
security and stability in the region, with the most noteworthy being the
situation in the East Sea and the Korean Peninsula, and new security challenges
like terrorism and cyber security.



Peace and security are prerequisite conditions for
cooperation, development and prosperity in and outside the region, they said.



Regarding the East Sea, they expressed concern over recent
developments in the sea, including unilateral activities such as militarisation
and construction on disputed islands.



Stressing the importance of maintaining peace, stability,
navigation and overflight security and safety in the East Sea, the FMs called
on relevant parties to deal with disputes peacefully, exercise restraint, not
to use force, respect international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law
of the Sea, and fully and effectively realise the Declaration on the Conduct of
Parties in the East.



They welcomed the draft Code
of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) reached by ASEAN and China, which serves
as a foundation to accelerate negotiations of COC.-VNA