|ASEAN leaders (Photo: VNA)|
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 24th ASEAN Summit on May 11 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, President of the host country U Thein Sein underscored that the association needs to strengthen solidarity and maintain unity to successfully build an ASEAN Community and effectively respond to new challenges.
The Summit also gave much space for the East Sea issue. Amidst the serious situation in the East Sea caused by China’s deployment of a drilling rig and a huge number of escort ships deep in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, ASEAN leaders affirmed that the association’s members need to raise a common voice to express deep concern and highlight the importance of strict implementation of international law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).
The leaders agreed that all disputes must be settled by peaceful measures, practicing self- restraint and not complicating the situation.
They also highlighted the need to build a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in an early date.
These contents are part of the Nay Pyi Taw Declaration on building of an ASEAN Community by 2015. The declaration emphasises the need to strengthen cooperation to ensure the full and effective implementation of the DOC as well as principles widely acknowledged in international law and UNCLOS.
It calls for all parties to practice restraint and not to use force or conduct activities that may escalate tension, while mentioning the necessity of forming a COC in an early date which was stated in the Six-Point Principles on the East Sea.
Myanmar President U Thein Sein, who presided over the event, hailed the significant contributions by leaders of the bloc to the success of the summit.
Leaders from the member countries agreed that the bloc needs to continue bettering the organisation system to improve the operational and coordinative efficiency among its agencies, in addition to enhancing the operation of the ASEAN Secretariat to support the bloc’s future targets.
As regards the post-2015 development orientations, the leaders affirmed that ASEAN Community should promote its key role in settling regional issues and concentrate on improving social welfares for people and coping with challenges posed by natural calamities and climate change.
Regarding the diplomatic ties, attendees agreed to continue expanding and deepening the relations with their partners, and realising the cooperation agreements.
Members should also promote cooperative ties with other potential nations and organisations out of the bloc, and increase coordination with them at international forums to raise the association’s role and position.
The ASEAN leaders also said the grouping should effectively promote existing tools of political-security partnership such as the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in the East Sea (TAC), the Bali Principles and the DOC, while strengthening dialogue and cooperation frameworks to build trust in the region, including the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus and the Asia Regional Forum.
Similar contents were also included in a Statement of the Chairman of the 24th ASEAN Summit released the same day.
ASEAN Foreign Ministers also passed a statement on the current serious developments in the East Sea on May10.