Vietnam's Deputy PM urges progress on building ASEAN Community

July 20, 2011 | 14:06
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Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem addressed the 44th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM-44) in Jakarta yesterday, concentrating on such issues as building of the ASEAN Community and implementing the ASEAN Charter.
ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan and foreign ministers pose for picture at the opening ceremony of the 44th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Bali, Indonesia

ASEAN member states needed to show determination and exert efforts to meet specific commitments for each year between now and 2015, Khiem said.

He stressed the need to implement a master plan on ASEAN connectivity and the special importance of mobilising resources, especially through dissemination information to attract contributions and participation from the private sector and partners.

Khiem said efforts needed to be continued to strengthen the ASEAN system and ensure the Charter is implemented fully and effectively. Legal documents would be necessary to implement the Charter while strengthening supervision and co-ordination among community pillars and between offices in each part of the community.

Khiem also emphasised the need to build awareness about ASEAN and the process of building the ASEAN Community. Viet Nam would support ASEAN by flying the ASEAN flag next to its own national flag at representative diplomatic offices beginning on ASEAN Day on August 8, he said.

He also proposed to strengthen the role and contributions of ASEAN in various international and regional fora. To maintain and promote its decisive role, Khiem said ASEAN needed to outline an agenda with a view to setting priorities suitable to each system and process while contributing to hastened dialogue, co-operation and trust, while ensuring compliance with and respect for international law and common standards of conduct.

The region needed to further strengthen co-operation in dealing with natural disasters, climate change, maritime security, food and energy security, and transnational crime, through such fora as ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3 and the East Asia Summit.

Addressing the issue of the East Sea, Khiem affirmed that peace, stability, security and maritime safety were a common concern and pressing aspiration of the region and all other countries. He said all countries must strictly respect the principles of international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Document on Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

Vietnam welcomed ASEAN's efforts in actively completing draft guidelines for implementing the DOC as well as reconnecting ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) and the ASEAN-China meeting on the issue, Khiem said.

He urged ASEAN to strengthen co-operative frameworks between sub-regions, including the Mekong sub-region and said that sustainable development for the sub-region needed to be strengthened, harmoniously combining demand for economic development with environmental protection, while strengthening bilateral and multilateral co-operation in transportation, infrastructure, trade, investment and tourism development. It was also essential to have close co-operation and consensus between concerned countries to ensure the interests of residents and solid development of all lowland countries, he said.

The foreign ministers from the ten member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gathered in Bali, Indonesia, yesterday for their 44th meeting.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono opened the meeting, stressing its significance with the ASEAN Summit and East Asia Summit scheduled for later this year in Indonesia.

Yudhoyono spoke highly of the consensus and determination of member countries toward the goal of building the ASEAN Community by 2015 through efforts to implement the roadmap for the ASEAN Community and regulations in the ASEAN Charter, to strengthen solidarity and co-operation among the bloc, and to help increase the capacity for regional recovery and development while taking the decisive role in the region.

Yudhoyono emphasised regional issues of common concern, including the East Sea issue and the situation between Thailand and Cambodia.

"ASEAN's first ever Declaration on the East Sea was issued long ago – in 1992," he said. "It took another 10 years before ASEAN and China could agree on the Declaration of Conduct. And yet, nine years later, we still have not finalised the guidelines of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea. Things do not necessarily have to be this slow.

"I ask the foreign ministers meeting to step up efforts to complete that last mile on this important confidence-building document. We need to send a strong signal to the world that the future of the East Sea is predictable, manageable and optimistic," the President said.

"And we need to finalise those long overdue guidelines because we need to get moving to the next phase, which is identifying elements of the Code of Conduct. The more we are able to do this, the better we can manage the situation in the East Sea. I am sure that soon we will be able to commence discussion of a regional code of conduct."

Themed The ASEAN Community in a Global Community of Nations, the 44th meeting of ASEAN ministers is focused on the roadmap and measures to accelerate the building of the ASEAN Community by 2015, while promoting the ASEAN role in strengthening peace, security and stability in the region and the world.


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