25/05/2017 09:59 GMT+7 print

SOM discusses preparations for ASEAN Regional Forum meeting

Manila, May 24 (VNA) – The Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) took place in Manila, the Philippines on May 24 to discuss preparations for the 24th ARF Ministerial Meeting slated for August in the country.

Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of the SOM ARF Vietnam, attended the event.

In his speech, Dung reiterated Vietnam’s consistent stance on the East Sea issue and underscored the importance of settling disputes by peaceful means on the basis of respect to international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), as well as diplomatic and legal process.

Amid concerns over construction and militarisation in the East Sea, he called on countries to further exercise self-restraint, build trust and prevent incidents at sea.

He lauded efforts to seriously and fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), the outcomes of ASEAN-China talks on building a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), including the recent consensus on a draft COC framework towards reaching a practical, effective and legally-binding deal.

The meeting lauded positive progresses in the implementation of the Hanoi Plan of Action to realise the ARF Vision 2020 and collaboration in priority areas such as maritime security, disaster relief, fight against terrorism and trans-national crime, arms control and disarmament.

Participants looked into new cooperation proposals and agreed on the list of activities for 2017-2018 to submit to ministers for adoption in August.

They stressed the need to continue strengthening basic principles of ARF such as consultation, preventive diplomacy and trust building in order to improve the capacity of coping with emerging challenges such as cyber security, piracy, terrorism, violence extremism and human trafficking, contributing to ensuring peace, security and common development in the region.

On the East Sea and Korean Peninsula issues, they affirmed the significance of peaceful settlement of disputes in line with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS and relevant resolutions by the United Nations Security Council.

As scheduled, Vietnam, together with the European Union and Australia, will co-chair the ARF Inter-Sessional Meeting on Maritime Security for the 2018-2020 period, and co-host with Japan the ARF Experts and Eminent Persons’ Meeting in 2018, and organise the ARF seminar on strengthening cooperation in law enforcement at sea and peace maintenance in 2017.