Speaking at the event, PM Chinh said amid intense competition among major nations, in order to maintain ASEAN’s central role, the only answer is to harness the inherent strength, strengthen internal unity to assert strategic value.
ASEAN countries must uphold the spirit of independence, self-reliance, self-resilience and respect for the rule of law, and stay steadfast to their fundamental principles and norms of conduct, he said.
At the centre of competition, ASEAN needs to maintain a strategic balance with major countries. It must truly become a reliable bridge with the capacity to regulate and balance relationships and interests, while steadfastly pursuing the goal of building an open, transparent and inclusive regional structure. Most importantly, the bloc must maintain its principled stance on issues directly related to regional security and development, he added.
On global and regional issues, the Vietnamese PM stressed that ASEAN needs to make efforts to enhance unity, maintain and consolidate its common stance on the East Sea/South China Sea. It is both the shared interest and responsibility of all member countries, he asserted.
According to him, ASEAN should urge its partners to respect this stance when operating in the East Sea, especially principles such as self-restraint, peaceful settlement of disputes, respect for international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Additionally, the group should persevere with the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and strive to build a practical and effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in line with international law and the UNCLOS 1982.
On the Myanmar situation, he expressed support for further proactive engagement to encourage peaceful dialogue, build trust, increase mutual understanding and work towards a comprehensive and sustainable solution for the Myanmar issue. He also supported Indonesia as the Chair of ASEAN and the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar in leading the bloc's efforts based on the 5-point consensus of regional leaders.
He affirmed that Vietnam will work closely with Laos, the Chair of ASEAN in 2024, to continue stepping up ASEAN's cooperation goals.
The Vietnamese PM, along with ASEAN leaders, also agreed to assist the Philippines in assuming the role of ASEAN Chair in 2026.
As scheduled on September 6 morning, PM Chinh and ASEAN leaders will attend the ASEAN 1 Summits with China, the Republic of Korea and Japan.