At the meeting, delegates agreed on putting forward efforts to implement priorities and orientations on ASEAN Community building, development of foreign relations, and further cooperation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as addressing emerging challenges. They also reaffirmed their support for initiatives proposed by Brunei, ASEAN Chair in 2021.

Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, Head of Vietnam’s ASEAN SOM at the online meeting

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they reached a consensus on continuing to give priority to the efforts to control the pandemic, prevent new waves of infection, overcome the consequences of the pandemic and speed up economic recovery.

Regarding regional and global issues, delegates expressed concerns over the recent developments in the East Sea (internationally South China Sea), including threats, coercion and violations of international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which affect regional peace and security, run counter to commitments in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and create an unfavorable atmosphere for negotiations on a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

They emphasized the need to restrain, avoid complicating the situation, promote international law and the UNCLOS 1982, continue implementing the DOC fully and effectively, and gradually resume negotiations for an effective and valid COC in conformity with international law and the UNCLOS 1982.

At the event, the Vietnamese senior official reaffirmed Vietnam’s support for and commitments to ASEAN’s cooperation priorities and initiatives in 2021.

He stressed that these priorities and initiatives need to rely on achievements obtained by the bloc last year, particularly in ASEAN Community building, COVID-19 prevention and control, and post-pandemic recovery.

The Vietnamese deputy foreign minister also expressed concerns over the recent complicated developments in the East Sea and suggested ASEAN member states maintain their solidarity and principled stance and make efforts to negotiate to build an effective and substantive COC in accordance with international law, including the UNCLOS 1982.

Translated by Chung Anh