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ASEAN and China reaffirm commitment on East Sea

Released at: 14:45, 08/09/2016

ASEAN and China reaffirm commitment on East Sea

Photo: ASEAN/Courtesy

Joint statement from parties released on September 7.

by Ha Nguyen

ASEAN and China reaffirmed their commitment to the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and the Joint Statement of ASEAN Foreign Ministers and China on the full and effective implementation of the DOC.

The regional bloc and China also reaffirmed the importance of the freedom of navigation and overflight, as provided for by universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), according to the joint statement released on September 7 after the ASEAN - China meeting.

Notably, ASEAN and China recognized that maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea region serves the fundamental interests of ASEAN member states and China as well as the international community.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc underlined the significance of strengthening cooperation between ASEAN and external partners in the building of the ASEAN Community and the realization of the 2025 Vision while attending the 29th ASEAN Summit and ASEAN+1 Summits with China and Japan in Vientiane, Laos, on September 7.

He pointed to factors decisive to the bloc’s successful external relations, which are self-reliance and the growth of each member state, the strengthening of solidarity and unity in the bloc, and the ability to harmonize interests of each ASEAN member country, ASEAN as a whole, and its partners.

PM Phuc said the thriving rapport between ASEAN and China has brought mutual benefits and now constitutes a leading factor for regional peace, security and prosperity, according to the government’s news portal.

He suggested the two sides increase political and strategic trust in the coming time while promoting comprehensive and pragmatic collaboration, addressing all differences and disputes via peaceful means on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 UNCLOS.

At the same time, the two sides should bolster their partnership in trade, investment and connectivity, tourism, cultural and people-to-people exchanges along with intensifying cooperation to respond to climate change, terrorism, crime, disease, and natural disasters, including the sustainable use and management of water resources in the Mekong River.

To promote ASEAN-Japan relations, PM Phuc suggested the two sides prioritize boosting economic-trade-investment links and soon conclude negotiations over the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (AJCEP) to realize the target of doubling bilateral trade and investment by 2022.

He also proposed increasing infrastructure connectivity and facilitating investment and business activities. He highly valued Japan’s commitment to prioritizing ASEAN in its “Partnership for Quality Infrastructure” initiative worth $200 billion.

Mentioning recent developments, the PM said Vietnam hopes ASEAN and China will work together to address arising problems towards a new period of peace, cooperation and development. He called on the involved parties to restrain from actions that could complicate the situation, abide by international law, including the UNCLOS 1982, seriously implement the DOC, and work for the early formation of the COC.

Significantly, PM Phuc welcomed ASEAN and China’s agreement on the application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) in the East Sea and the establishment of hotlines between foreign ministries to address emergencies at sea.

He proposed the two sides strive to complete the COC in 2017 on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the signing of the DOC and the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN.

China remains the biggest trade partner of ASEAN, with two-way trade reaching $346.4 billion in 2015. It is also the fourth-largest investor in ASEAN, with investment of $8.2 billion in 2015. The two sides have set a target of $1 trillion in bilateral trade and $150 billion in investment by 2020.

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