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ASEAN needs to remain steadfast in position and principles on East Sea

VGP – Our primary wish is to maintain peace, security, stability and cooperation in the region in order to focus on containing the pandemic, fostering recovery, and striving towards prosperity.

October 26, 2021 11:10 PM GMT+7

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh made the above statement at the 39th ASEAN Summit held virtually on Tuesday.

In the current context, PM Pham expressed his belief that the core value, and the root of ASEAN’s strength for the past 54 years, is unity.

Pham, however, said unity needs to be closely associated with the responsibility and constructive contributions from all ASEAN members.

The Government chief emphasized that making proactive and responsible contributions to addressing issues pertaining to our region is important in upholding ASEAN’s centrality.

The bloc’s capacity to act independently, and to exercise neutrality in managing and balancing relations is the key for ASEAN to avoid getting caught under the pressure of major powers.

ASEAN welcomes the engagement of major powers in the region on the basis of responsibility, constructiveness and respect for international law, and such engagement should not affect regional peace and stability.

He expressed his hope that major powers would respect the role of ASEAN, and partake in full consultation with ASEAN through the mechanisms and forums established and led by ASEAN.

Regarding the East Sea issue, PM Pham stressed that ASEAN needs to demonstrate its courage and self-reliance in maintaining peace, security and stability in the East Sea.

“We need to remain steadfast in our position and principles on the East Sea; urge all countries to observe international law, uphold responsibility, avoid actions that may complicate the situation or escalate tensions,” said Pham.

He called for making constructive cooperation over issues of mutual interest, such as protecting the marine environment, preventing illegal fishing, and ensuring humanitarian assistance for fishermen and seafarers.

All parties concerned need to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and make every effort to work with China in expediting the drafting of an effective and substantive COC in line with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS - the framework regulating all activities at seas and oceans.  

On Myanmar issue, PM Pham said ASEAN needs to stand united to support our brother Myanmar in the immediate future.

He urged the relevant sides to persist with the Five-point Consensus, and arrange the Special Envoy’s visit to Myanmar at the earliest while continuing humanitarian assistance for the people of Myanmar./.

By Quang Minh