Nguyen Quoc Dung, Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, ASEAN SOM leader, and Secretary General of the National ASEAN 2020 Committee who chaired the event, said the AMM 53 will be one of the important highlights of the country’s ASEAN chairmanship this year.

Vietnam will host and facilitate talks with partners on several issues, including the COVID-19 prevention and control, the post-pandemic recovery plan, the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, and the women empowerment.

In addition, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers will make preparations for the upcoming 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in November. They will also discuss and exchange views with external partners on the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and other important traditional and non-traditional regional and international challenges.

Dung further said that priorities have been given to promoting a cohesive and proactive ASEAN Community in line with the theme and priorities for this year. Besides, Vietnam has also put forth numerous initiatives on COVID-19 prevention and control as well as post-pandemic economic recovery.

According to the official, 27 delegations from the 10 ASEAN nations and partners will join meetings in the framework of the AMM-53.

Participants will attend 20 meetings, and 40 documents adopted, including AMM-53 Joint Communique, focusing on ASEAN's commitment to promoting the ASEAN Community, economic connectivity and cooperation with dialogue partners.

Deputy FM talks agenda for 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

Deputy Foreign Minister and head of Vietnam's ASEAN SOM Nguyen Quoc Dung answered reporters’ queries about preparations and agenda for the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-53)  and related meetings during a press conference in Hanoi on September 7.

Deputy FM talks agenda for 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting hinh anh 1

Deputy Foreign Minister and head of Vietnam's ASEAN SOM Nguyen Quoc Dung at the event (Photo: VNA)

About the possibility to establish new partnership between ASEAN and partners within the framework of the meeting, Dung said ASEAN now has three partnership levels, including full dialogue partnership, dialogue partnership in areas and development partnership. The bloc has received proposals from countries at all the above levels.

Recently, the UK proposed establishing full dialogue partnership while Morocco and the United Arab Emirates were also interested in setting up dialogue partnership in areas with the grouping. Several countries also suggested joining the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC). All proposed are being considered by ASEAN.

On the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Dung said as RCEP is one of the priorities of the bloc. Vietnam has actively stepped up negotiations for signing the agreement later this year in its capacity as ASEAN Chair.

He added that Vietnam hopes that at ASEAN ministers’ meetings, especially those discussing economic affairs, terms of the deal will be reached and signed.

 

Sharing Vietnam’s expectations at AMM-53 and related meetings when the region and the world are coping with new non-traditional security challenges such as COVID-19, Dung said the pandemic response is part of the meeting’s agenda.

Since early this year, ASEAN has strived to fight the pandemic with various new initiatives. Additionally, challenges arising from climate change, terrorism, security and safety at sea and protection of fishermen will also be discussed.

As regards to negotiations on a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) at the meeting, Dung said the COC continues to be a priority of both ASEAN and China. Talks on the issue have been delayed due to the pandemic.

According to him, both sides discussed ways to resume negotiations as well as upcoming goals.

Senior ASEAN officials discuss preparations for AMM-53

Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of ASEAN SOM of Vietnam, chaired a meeting of senior ASEAN officials and a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (ExCom SEANWFZ) Treaty on September 7, as the opening activities of the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-53) and related meetings.

Participants reviewed preparations for AMM-53 and related meetings, during which ASEAN foreign ministers will discuss the building of the ASEAN Community as well as cooperation in settling and controlling the pandemic and post-pandemic recovery, along with a number of regional and international issues.

The FMs will review and sketch out orientations for ASEAN’s external relations, with consideration given to certain proposals to set up partnerships and the admission of Colombia and Cuba to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).

They will also discuss the enhancement of ASEAN’s central role, in particular the way to ensure that the bloc will continue to be the key force in the region to lead the cooperation process for peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity.

Senior ASEAN officials affirmed the significance of the SEANWFZ Treaty, which expresses the bloc’s commitment to maintaining a region free of nuclear weapons, contributing to regional security and the international community’s efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and promote nuclear disarmament and the dismantling of weapons of mass destruction.

ExCom SEANWFZ agreed to submit to the SEANWFZ Committee a number of recommendations for the effective implementation of the method of expanding the SEANWFZ Treaty. Officials welcomed SEANWFZ signatories to further strengthen cooperation with relevant international organisations, especially between the ASEAN Network of Regulatory Bodies on Atomic Energy (ASEANTOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Addressing the event, Deputy FM Dung underlined that amid COVID-19, ASEAN should stay firm in commitments and maintain solidarity in action, thus speeding up the building of the Community and successfully dealing with the pandemic as well as emerging challenges.

He hailed the contributions of countries in the process of building the Community and expanding ASEAN’s external relations, saying that at these meetings, foreign ministers of ASEAN countries will affirm ASEAN’s determination to enhance its central role, promote solidarity and cooperation, speed up successful construction of the Community, and effectively control the pandemic and boost the post-pandemic recovery.

Dung emphasised that the full participation of partners at the conference affirms ASEAN’s position and role as well as the bloc’s image in the eyes of international friends, while manifesting the determination of countries to maintain dialogues for peace, stability, and cooperation. At the end of the meeting, the senior officials agreed to submit proposals to the foreign ministers related to cooperation within ASEAN as well as between ASEAN and partners, which is reflected in many different documents from the meeting.

AMM-53 and related meetings will open on the morning of September 9 in Hanoi. Host Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will address the opening session./.VNA