18/03/2018 15:05 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

PM Phuc suggests orientations of ASEAN-Australia partnership

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Australia to intensify cooperation and mutual trust, for interests of each side, as well as for cooperation and stability in the region. 
 
He made the appeal while addressing a retreat between leaders of ASEAN and Australia within the framework of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Sydney on March 18. PM Phuc was one of the four ASEAN leaders invited to deliver a keynote speech at the retreat. 
 
The leader said ASEAN and Australia should make efforts to build open, transparent, inclusive order in the region, and ensure that regional countries observe international law and respect each other’s interests. 
 
At the same time, they need to maintain economic connectivity and keep doors open to develop prosperously, he stressed, calling on the two sides to firstly effectively implement the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand free trade agreement, soon conclude negations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. 
 
Attention should be paid to innovations, connectivity promotion, support for businesses and improvement of added values of ASEAN economies and Australia in the global value chain, the PM noted. 
 
He also suggested increasing cooperation programmes targeting people, especially through collaboration in education-training, cultural exchange and people-to-people contacts, so as to create a firm foundation for the ASEAN-Australia relationship in the future. 
 
Pointing to potential risks to regional maritime security, the PM emphasised the need to abide by international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), saying law respect must be a foundation to build trust and preserve regional stability. 
 
Therefore, the protection of regional security and environment, as well as marine scientific research should be taken into account in maritime partnerships, the leader noted. 
 
He applauded efforts made by Vietnam and Australia, along with the EU in co-chairing the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Inter-Sessional Support Group on maritime security for 2018-2020, considering this an active contribution to peace, cooperation and trust building in the region. 
 
Vietnam welcomes initiatives for peace and connectivity between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific in line with international law, he said. 
 
At the retreat, ASEAN and Australia leaders also discussed strategic regional and international matters of shared concern, including the Korean Peninsula and East Sea issues. 
 
Meanwhile, at the plenary session of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit the same day, they compared notes on orientations of the ASEAN-Australia strategic partnership with the centre on collaboration in economy and anti-terrorism. 
 
They committed to enhancing affiliation in building a peaceful and prosperous region for ASEAN citizens. 
 
Australia affirmed its support for ASEAN’s central role in an open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based regional architecture, while increasing dialogue mechanisms at levels with the ten-member group on strategic regional issues. Such dialogue mechanisms include the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+). 
 
The leaders also agreed to step up trade and investment ties and back the multilateral trade system on the basis of law, along with deepening economic links between ASEAN and Australia. 
 
They pledged to create favourable conditions for businesses, especially small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), support start-ups and promote the digital economy. 
 
ASEAN and Australia reiterated their commitment to pushing negotiations to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement as scheduled. 
 
Regarding affiliation in anti-terrorism, they held that the signing of a memorandum of understanding on anti-terrorism on March 17 is a milestone in the joint combat. 
 
The two sides also consented to step up cooperation in education, training and people-to-people exchange, particularly within the framework of the New Colombo Plan. 
 
On the sidelines of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, PM Phuc met with Cambodian PM Samdech Hun Sen, Thai PM Prayuth Chan-ocha, Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Malaysian PM Najib Razak, Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Long and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. 
 
Cambodian PM Samdech Hun Sen and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi confirmed their participation in the sixth Greater Mekong Sub-region Summit (GMS 6) slated for March 29-31, 2018 in Hanoi. 
 
PM Phuc, his spouse and the high-ranking Vietnamese delegation left Sydney on the afternoon of March 18, concluding their activities within the official visit to Australia and the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit.-VNA/VNP