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ASEAN Foreign Ministers release statement on China meeting

Released at: 11:32, 17/06/2016

ASEAN Foreign Ministers release statement on China meeting

Photo: VNA

Statement reflects ASEAN members' unanimous stance on matters raised at meeting with China.

by Quoc Uy

Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Hai Binh was quoted by the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) on June 16 as saying that ASEAN members were unanimous in the content of a press statement issued by the bloc’s Foreign Ministers at the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Kunming, China.

The press statement reflects the ten-member group’s assessment of the meeting’s outcomes and other important matters raised, including their common stance on the East Sea issue, Mr. Hai said.

The ASEAN nations also reached consensus on the announcement of the statement. The Foreign Minister of Singapore will announce the statement at a joint press conference with the Chinese Foreign Minister following the meeting. Singapore is currently the coordinator of the ASEAN-China dialogue relations.

ASEAN countries are currently comparing notes on the announcement of the press statement, the spokesman added.

The special meeting of foreign ministers of ASEAN and China, co-chaired by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan, was held in Kunming on June 14.

ASEAN-China relations and the East Sea issue dominated the meeting, VNA reported.

Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh affirmed that Vietnam and ASEAN attach great importance to ties with China and he underscored the importance of the ASEAN-China strategic partnership for peace, security and prosperity in Asia Pacific. 

He proposed boosting bilateral cooperation in effectively realizing the 2016-2020 Action Plan, focusing on the priority fields of economics, trade, investment, connectivity, the environment, climate change, agriculture, and food and water resource security, particularly in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region. 

Joint work should be intensified to deal with regional security challenges, he went on, even in the East Sea, and thorough preparations should be made to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-China dialogue relations, particularly the commemorative summit slated for September in Laos. 

Expressing concern over complicated developments in the East Sea, the Deputy PM called on ASEAN and China to increase dialogue and cooperation to deal with the issue while complying with commitments with concrete actions, particularly in the peaceful settlement of disputes in line with the law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

He urged all parties to refrain from the use of or threat to use force, calling for self-restraint and the preventing of actions that further complicate the dispute, in particular pressing for non-militarization in the East Sea, the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and the early formulation of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC). 

According to VNA, participants expressed their delight at the outcomes of the implementation of the 2011-2015 Action Plan for the Joint Statement on the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership, including the upgrading of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement. 

China remains ASEAN’s largest trade partner, with two-way trade of $470 billion expected to soar to $1 trillion by 2020. 

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