East Sea issue a highlight at latest ASEAN meeting

HA NOI - The Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN+3 and an informal consultation among East Asian Summit (EAS) senior officials, wrapped up yesterday in Surabaya, Indonesia.

Participating countries reviewed in four days the implementation of decisions, discussed issues of interest to the region and prepared for the 44th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting, the 18th ASEAN Regional Forum Meeting and other related events to be held in July.

Member countries attending (SOM), ASEAN and related meetings, emph-asised efforts to build an ASEAN Community by 2015 and speed up co-operation between ASEAN member partners for purposes of effectively dealing with peace, stability, food and energy security, maritime security and safety, trans-national crimes, natural disaster management, climate change and development of the region.

At (SOM), ASEAN+3 and EAS, countries highlighted achieved progress and discussed the implementation of ASEAN+3 and EAS programmes during 2003-2012, exchanging further views on the EAS's development.

Participants said the EAS would continue being a forum for senior leaders to discuss strategic issues, in either politics or security and development cooperation while welcoming Russian and US leaders to the EAS in November this year.

The ARF focussed on important issues facing the region, reviewed ARF activities and defined practical measures to implement the Ha Noi Plan of Action by 2020.

The East Sea issue was additionally highlighted at meetings with participants voicing their concerns over recent occurrences, underlining the importance of ensuring peace, stability, security and maritime safety through peaceful measures while abiding by international laws and the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the East Sea.

Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pham Quang Vinh, said that Viet Nam had supported all efforts aimed at building trust and cooperation for peace, stability, security and maritime safety in the East Sea.

The country confirmed its commitment to the ASEAN-China Action Plan for 2011-15, Vinh added.

Regarding the harassment of Chinese ships on Vietnamese vessels conducting seismic surveys in Viet Nam's territorial waters in the East Sea, Vinh said that Viet Nam had strongly opposed China's actions.

He added that Viet Nam had called on China to cease its activities and respect international laws and national sovereignty, confirming its commitment to solving problems peacefully.

The 18th ASEAN Summit affirmed the importance of the DOC to peace, stability, security, and maritime safety in the East Sea. Participating countries said that they would strive for the completion of a guideline on DOC implementation and build a Code of Conduct for the East Sea, COC. ASEAN members requested China to work with it in solving unsettled issues with a view to completing the guideline as early as possible.