Given the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, ASEAN must be firm while maintaining its commitment and solidarity in action, thus speeding up the building of the community and successfully dealing with the pandemic and emerging challenges, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung said on Monday.
He made the statement at an ASEAN Senior Officials’ meeting. The event marked the start of the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-53) and related meetings which will be organised later this week.
Participants at the meeting reviewed preparations for AMM-53 and related meetings, during which ASEAN foreign ministers will discuss the building of the ASEAN Community as well as the joint response to Covid-19, the centrality of ASEAN along with several regional and international issues.
Dung said ASEAN ministers would also review and set forth orientations for external relations of ASEAN, including considering the admission of Colombia and Cuba to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia.
They would consider enhancing the central role of ASEAN, especially ways to ensure that ASEAN continues to be the region’s key force to lead the process of cooperation for peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity.
Speaking at the event, Dung appreciated contributions of other countries in the building of the ASEAN Community and expanding of ASEAN’s external relations.
He said foreign ministers of ASEAN would affirm their determination to enhance the central role of ASEAN, promoting solidarity and cooperation for a successful construction of the community while controlling the pandemic and accelerating post-pandemic recovery.
The full participation of partners in the meeting has proved the position and role of ASEAN as well as its image in the eyes of international friends, Dung said. It also showed the determination of countries to maintain dialogues for peace, stability and cooperation.
At the end of the meeting, the senior officials agreed to submit proposals to the foreign ministers related to cooperation within ASEAN as well as between ASEAN and partners, which is reflected in many different documents from the meeting.
Also on Monday, a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (ExCom SEANWFZ) Commission was held under the chairmanship of Dung.
Senior ASEAN officials affirmed the significance of the SEANWFZ Treaty, which expresses the bloc’s commitment to maintaining a region free of nuclear weapons, contributing to regional security and the international community’s efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and promote nuclear disarmament and the dismantling of weapons of mass destruction.
ExCom SEANWFZ agreed to submit to the SEANWFZ Committee several recommendations for the effective implementation of the method of expanding the SEANWFZ Treaty.
Officials also welcomed SEANWFZ signatories to further strengthen cooperation with relevant international organisations, especially between the ASEAN Network of Regulatory Bodies on Atomic Energy (ASEANTOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Vietnam will host AMM-53 and related meetings on September 9, 10 and 12 via teleconference.
The main event, AMM-53, will open on Wednesday followed by the meeting of the SEANWFZ Commission, the 27th ASEAN Coordinating Council. Host Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will address the opening session.
On the same day, the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting, ASEAN-Republic of Korea Minister Meeting, the 21st ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the 10th East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will take place.
On September 10 and 12, the ASEAN foreign ministers will have separate meetings with other dialogue partners namely the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the EU, India and Russia.
Also in the framework of AMM-53, the ASEAN foreign ministers will hold a meeting with ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) representatives. The 27th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) will take place on September 12.
VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK