The event took place as part of the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-55) and related meetings in the capital city of Cambodia. It draw the participation of foreign ministers from ASEAN member states and EAS partners, namely China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, India, Russia, and the US.
Participants affirmed the specialness of the EAS, a forum established by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for regional leaders to discuss strategic issues, thus creating prerequisites for regional cooperation to overcome uncertainties and complexities for common peace, security, and prosperity in the region.
They held that to carry out the decisions made at the 16th EAS in November 2021, countries need to concurrently boost sustainable recovery and development while improving their healthcare capacity and resilience to future disease outbreaks.
A main task for the EAS countries now is to reopen their borders, resume trading, facilitate investment, and promote connectivity, they said, agreeing to enhance partnerships in innovation, digital transformation, energy, climate change response, and green and sustainable growth.
Sharing concerns over emerging complex developments in the East Sea/South China Sea, Myanmar, the Korean Peninsula, Ukraine, and the Taiwan Strait, the ministers affirmed the EAS’s strategic value of creating a favourable environment for straightforward dialogue, close consultation, and sincere cooperation for a region of peace, stability, and sustainable development.
In his remarks, Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son reaffirmed ASEAN’s principled stance on international issues.
He called on countries to help turn the East Sea into a sea of peace and stability, safety and security, and openness and freedom, adding that all disputes must be resolved by peaceful means on the basis of international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Vietnam pledged to join other ASEAN members and China to seriously and fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and strive to soon finalise an efficient and effective Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea that is in line with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, he emphasised.
Regarding recent developments in the region, the minister repeated ASEAN and Vietnam’s stance that supports the “One China” policy. He called on the parties concerned to exercise self-restraint, avoid complicating the situation, peacefully resolve disagreements and disputes, and adhere to international law, the UN Charter, and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia.
Son noted ASEAN will maintain its engagement with Myanmar, and that the ASEAN Chair’s special envoy will strive to access and help to fully implement the Five-Point Consensus among ASEAN leaders.
At a meeting with Sri Lanka Foreign Minister M.U.M. Ali Sabry, the Vietnamese minister highly valued the two countries’ traditional friendship and asked both sides to maintain contact, increase consultation, effectively carry out cooperation mechanisms, and soon organise the fourth session of the Joint Committee on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation.
Sabry agreed to raise annual bilateral trade to 500 million USD and encourage Vietnamese businesses to conduct trading through his country’s seaports.
The two officials agreed to bolster ties in other spheres like tourism, agriculture, education, and people-to-people exchange. They also discussed orientations for mutual support at international forums, especially the UN.