A Vietnamese delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh took part in the 27th ASEAN-US Dialogue in Yangon, Myanmar, on June 10.
The event created a chance for participants to exchange views on regional issues of mutual concern and review cooperation between ASEAN and the US , as well as discuss preparations for the ASEAN-US Ministers’ Meeting in August and the second ASEAN-US Summit later this year.
Regarding regional and international issues, participants mentioned the current complex developments in the East Sea . The US side affirmed its support for ASEAN’s viewpoint, as shown in the Statement of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers on May 10, expressing deep concern about escalating tensions that are directly affecting peace, stability, maritime security and safety in the region.
The US said it opposes unilateral actions that use force to change the status quo and impose territorial sovereignty claims, and strongly backs the principles of solving disputes by peaceful means and restraint without the use of force or threat to use force, in line with international law. In particular it referred to the importance of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).
ASEAN and China need practical negotiations to reach a more binding Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), it said.
Addressing the event, Vinh, who is also head of the Vietnamese delegation to the ASEAN Senior Officials Meetings (SOM), spoke highly of the outcomes of ASEAN-US partnership and the US ’s support for ASEAN in building its community, enhancing connectivity and promoting its central role in the region, together striving for peace, security and development cooperation.
On the East Sea issue, the Deputy FM stated that China ’s illegal placement of the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981, escorted by a large number of ships, in Vietnam ’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, as well as its continuous provocative and aggressive acts, has seriously violated international law, the 1982 UNCLOS and the DOC.
Vietnam strongly condemns these violations and requests China to immediately withdraw its oil rig and ships from Vietnam ’s waters, he stressed, adding that Vietnam resolutely safeguards its sovereignty over its waters while persisting with dialogue and the use of peaceful means in accordance with international law.
Regarding the ASEAN-US cooperation, the two sides appreciated the continued development of their partnership in various fields ranging from politics and security to economic and socio-culture.
The US vowed to continue fostering its relations with ASEAN, considering it one of the policy priorities in the region, as well as support ASEAN’s central role in the evolving regional architecture and in mechanisms initiated by ASEAN.
ASEAN encourages the US to increase support for ASEAN’s community building and step up economic, scientific and technological and educational cooperation with the association, especially the granting of scholarships for ASEAN students.
The two sides should boost collaborations in coping with diseases, energy security, disaster management and climate change, it was agreed.
ASEAN and the US highly valued their active coordination in implementing the 2011-2015 ASEAN-US Action Plan, the US-ASEAN Expanded Economic Engagement (E3), and the ASEAN-US Connectivity Initiative.
In 2013, two-way trade between ASEAN and the US exceeded 200 billion USD and the latter was the fourth largest trade partner of the former. The US was also the third largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) for ASEAN with 6.9 billion USD, accounting for 6 percent of the total investment in the bloc.
ASEAN and the US stressed the strategic importance of their partnership in contributing to peace, stability, security and prosperity in the region. The two sides will continue to expand and strengthen cooperation in order to bring their partnership to a new height.
In addition, they will effectively implement priority projects and mobilise resources for ASEAN to successfully build its community, increase connectivity and develop human resources, education and people-to-people exchange. They will also address common challenges like energy security, sustainable water management, bio-diversity, climate change, disaster and disease management, and trans-national crime prevention.
The two sides agreed to continue stepping up collaboration in the framework of the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI).-