ASEAN 2020: 10th Meeting of East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers held
The 10th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held online on September 9 within the framework of the ongoing 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-53) and related meetings hosted by Vietnam.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh addresses the 10th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting. (Photo: VNA)
Chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, the videoconference was attended by ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi, ASEAN foreignministers, and representatives from EAS partners, namely Australia, China,India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia, and the US.
Acknowledging progress in implementing the Manila Action Plan 2018-2022, theEAS countries agreed to continue boosting cooperation in priority areas,including environment, energy, education, finance, health, disaster management,connectivity, economics, trade, food security, and marine cooperation.
Foreign ministers said amid the COVID-19 and its complicated developments, EAScountries need to enhance practical cooperation, raise their capacity torespond to and minimise negative impact of the pandemic while promotingsustainable regional recovery.
The EAS partners spoke highly of Vietnam's role as the 2020 ASEAN Chair foractively coordinating the COVID-19 response efforts of ASEAN and partners, andsupported ASEAN initiatives such as the COVID-19 Response Fund and the RegionalReserve of Medical Supplies.
ASEAN recommended the EAS partners, with their strengths, support ASEAN toimprove its capacity for preventive medicine, coordinate information sharingand exchange of experience in treatment, research and production of vaccines,and minimise socio-economic impact while promoting sustainable economicrecovery and growth.
Participants welcomed Vietnam's proposal to host an EAS inter-sectoral expert conferenceon COVID-19 to strengthen response and recovery efforts in the region, slatedfor October 2020.
Fifteen years after its establishment, the EAS is now facing both newopportunities and challenges in the context of unprecedentedly rapid andcomplex changes in the region. The countries need to coordinate closely tostrengthen the group in the new phase, contributing positively to dialogue andcooperation, maintaining peace, security and prosperity, and effectivelyresponding to emerging challenges in the region.
The countries agreed to support the 15th East Asia Summit (EAS-15) to adopt anannouncement marking the EAS 15th founding anniversary and cooperationdocuments on sustainable marine cooperation, promoting stable regional economicgrowth, capacity building in response to epidemics, and enhancing the role ofwomen in ensuring peace and security.
Participants exchanged views on regional and international situations of mutualinterest, including the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the East Sea,Myanmar’s Rakhine state, and Hong Kong (China).
Regarding the situation in the East Sea,they emphasised the importance of peace, stability, security, safety andfreedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, which is a common interestof all countries. They also expressed concerns about recent developments in thewaters that cause harms to peace, security and the rule of the law in theregion, especially amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The countries stressed the need to push updialogues and intensify the building of trust; and to refrain from the actsthat worsen tension and complicate the situation, from militarisation, and fromthe use of or threat to use force. The disputes must be settled by peaceful measureson the basis of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.
The meeting called on ASEAN and China to fully and effectively implement theDeclaration of the Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and work tosoon complete the building of an effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea(COC), consistent with international law and recognised by the internationalcommunity.
Addressing the conference, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Pham Binh Minhaffirmed the strategic role and important contributions of the EAS in the past15 years. He emphasised the EAS chair's coordination role in EAS cooperationactivities, and in enhancing the EAS role in responding promptly andeffectively to emerging challenges in the region. Participants expressed theirsupport for Vietnam's proposal on issuing a Hanoi Declaration marking the 15thanniversary of the EAS.
Regarding the East Sea situation, Minh reaffirmed ASEAN's principled positionstated at the 36th ASEAN Summit and the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
He suggested related parties uphold the law, refrain from the acts that furthercomplicate the situation and from militarisation, settle disputes throughpeaceful measures, continue to fully and effectively implement the DOC and sooncomplete the effective and efficient COC in accordance with international law,especially the 1982 UNCLOS, contributing to maintaining peace, security andstability in the East Sea and in the region.
According to the agenda for September 10, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers willattend the ASEAN-US, ASEAN-Canada, ASEAN-Australia, and ASEAN-New ZealandForeign Ministers’ meetings, the dialogue between ASEAN Foreign Ministers andrepresentatives of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights(AICHR), and the ASEAN ministerial dialogue on strengthening women’s role for sustainablepeace and security./.VNA