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ASEAN Regional Forum urged to strengthen policy and action coordination against COVID-19

VGP – The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) should further promote its role and contributions, especially in maintaining dialogue and cooperation, strengthening trust-mutual understanding and coordination of policies and actions to actively and effectively deal with arising challenges, including COVID-19.

September 12, 2020 9:20 PM GMT+7

Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh chairs the 27th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Ha Noi, September 12, 2020.  - Photo: VGP

Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh made the above statement on September 12 while delivering his opening remarks at the 27th virtual ARF, which was attended by foreign ministers from 27 ARF nations, and Secretary-General of ASEAN Lim Jock Hoi.

Deputy PM Minh urged the member countries to exert efforts in effectively implementing the Ha Noi Plan of Action II, the ARF Statement on Enhancing Cooperation to Prevent and Respond to Infectious Disease Outbreaks and other statements and initiatives adopted at this forum.

Regarding the East Sea issue, Minh emphasized the common interests and responsibility of all coutries in maintaining and promoting peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight above the East Sea.

Expressing deep concerns over complex developments and incidents and actions that violate legitimate rights and interests of the littoral nations, Minh reiterated the principled position enshrined in the Joint Communiqué of the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

He stressed the need to respect the rule of law, exercise self-restraint, avoid acts that may further complicate the situation and militarization, settle disputes through peaceful means on the basis of international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS).

Deputy PM, FM Minh affirmed that ASEAN will continue efforts in collaboration with China to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and soon conclude an effective and efficient Code of Conduct in the East Sea in accordance with intaernational law, especially the 1982 UNCLOS.

At the meeting, the foreign ministers noted that despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the countries have maintained dialogue and cooperation and implemented a series of innovative and flexible measures to adapt to the new situation.

As a result, the ARF has organized 12 events on key topics like application of the 1982 UNCLOS and international legal documents and improvement of capacity for early warning of disasters and cyber security.

The foreign ministers agreed to deploy measures to build trust, implement preventive measures, and foster cooperation such priority areas of disaster relief,  terrorism and trans-national crime combat, maritime security, cyber security, non-proliferation and disarment of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.

The ARF should also strengthen cooperation in containing and mitigating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious diseases. In this regard, the ARF countries agreed with Viet Nam’s proposal to issue the ARF Statement on Enhancing Cooperation to Prevent and Respond to Infectious Disease Outbreaks.

The foreign ministers also adopted the Chairman’s Statement of the 27th ARF./.

By Thuy Dung