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Asean summit fosters regional cooperation

Publication Date : 21-11-2012


Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member countries and the association's partners gathered in Phnom Penh yesterday for the 7th East Asia Summit (EAS).

At the summit, participants highlighted important strategic issues related to peace and stability in the region.

They discussed directions for EAS's future coperation in important fields including energy, finance, disaster management, education, infectious diseases and Asean connectivity.

The leaders also affirmed that EAS is an important component of the regional architecture and its operation should be based on the goals and principles stated in the 2005 Kuala Lumpur Declaration and the 2010 Ha Noi Declaration.

They supported promoting Asean's key role in EAS and encouraging the association's partners to engage in regional cooperation and further develop EAS.

The leaders applauded the Myanmar government's efforts to foster national reconciliation and regional integration and strongly supported the removal of the economic embargoes on the country. They expressed their support for a peaceful, stable and nuclear weapon-free Korean Peninsula and the prompt resumption of six-party negotiation.

Concerning the East Sea, many countries underscored the importance of ensuring peace, stability and maritime security and solving disputes through peaceful means and international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), as well as the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and Asean's Six-Point Principle. They hoped to build the Code of Conducts in the East Sea (COC) in the near future.

Addressing the summit, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said he valued the central role of Asean and applauded the recent progress of EAS cooperation. He suggested that in the future, EAS should focus on cooperating on priority issues such as ensuring the function of EAS as a forum for leaders to discuss issues of strategic importance to the region in politics, security and development cooperation.

He also highlighted EAS's role in building common frameworks and standards in the region to forge peace, stability and economic prosperity in East Asia.

Speaking at the EAS's retreat session, Dung emphasised the necessity of further promoting maritime security - a common concern for all countries in the region and the world.

He lauded the joint efforts for peace, stability, maritime security and safety in the East Sea , while calling for countries to support Asean and China in fully implementing DOC and their Joint Statement on the 10th anniversary of DOC, which will lead to COC.

He also asked the countries to support Asean in implementing the Six-Point Principle on the East Sea in order to ensure the settling of disputes through peaceful methods based on international law and the 1982 Unclos, including respecting special economic zones and continental shelves of coastal states for peace, stability, maritime security and safety and prosperity in the region.

The event concluded with the leaders approving the EAS Development Initiative, an EAS statement on drug-resistant malaria prevention and the official launch of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations.

Also yesterday. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung joined leaders of Asean member states, Asean partners and representatives of international organisations at the Asean Global Dialogue.

Dung spoke highly of Cambodia's initiative to hold the first Asean Global Dialogue, saying that it presented an excellent opportunity for countries to exchange views on regional and global economic issues, as well as emerging challenges.

He valued the active roles Asean and East Asia have played in building a stable and prosperous region.

Vietnam will contribute to efforts to achieve sustainable development goals, Dung affirmed.

He requested that developed countries assist developing countries in adapting to climate change, developing agricultural production, using natural resources in a sustainable manner, increasing financial support and facilitating technological transfer.

UN organisations, the World Bank and the Asia Development Bank can play an important role in this process, he said, providing research, consultation and policy recommendations and co-ordinating cooperation between various countries.

At the talks, participants also discussed global issues including the economic crisis, energy security, food security and sustainable development.

Asean countries called on their partners and international financial organisations to continue supporting Asean as it increases regional connectivity.

The same day, Dung and leaders of the US, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia attended the unofficial summit of the Trans Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP).

This is the first high-level meeting of the seven TPP member leaders on the occasion of the East Asia Summit.

Addressing the function, Dung affirmed that Vietnam shares the other nations' determination and will continue making valuable contributions to the negotiations.

To make TPP an effective cooperation mechanism, Dung asked the members to push for balanced agreements for development and assist developing members to participate in the global chain with a view to preserving the leading role of the Asia-Pacific region in the world's economy.

Leaders of the seven countries emphasised that a broad economic network must be created within the framework of TPP.

They highly valued the outcome of negotiations over the last three years, and agreed to make greater efforts to conclude the process in 2013.

On November 19, US President Barack Obama and leaders of Asean members discussed an initiative to expand US-Asean bilateral trade and investment cooperation.

The initiative aims to create conditions for Asian countries to join the TPP. The US wants to expand the partnership to include Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar – the Asean members that do not participate in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Asean is the fourth-largest export market and fifth-largest trade partner of the US.


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