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ASEAN, UN leaders emphasise cooperation in solving challenges

Leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Nations (UN) underlined the importance of bilateral cooperation in solving global challenges at the 10th ASEAN-UN Summit in Thailand on November 3 within the framework of the 35th ASEAN Summit and related summits.

The two sides emphasised the need for cooperation to cope with climate change, natural disasters, rising sea levels, pollution and plastic waste, as well as tackling cross-border crime and terrorism, and promoting sustainable development in the context of rapid and complicated global developments.

They agreed to boost collaboration between the ASEAN and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Regarding the East Sea, the leaders said unilateral actions that ran counter to international law have been negatively affecting peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea.

The UN affirmed its support for the ASEAN’s viewpoints of solving disputes via dialogue based on international law.

The leaders said they believed that having Vietnam and Indonesia as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council in 2020 will help the ASEAN and the UN increase cooperation, contributing to the promotion of peace, security and sustainable development in the region and beyond.

On behalf of ASEAN countries, Thailand as chair of ASEAN 2019 recognised the efforts made to realise 93 percent of the targets set in the ASEAN-UN action plan, looking towards the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres underlined the importance and central role of the ASEAN in the regional architecture, while appreciating the bloc’s achievements in socio-economic development.

However, there are still many challenges to address to make sure no one is left behind, he said.

The UN chief added that the UN is willing to support ASEAN and hopes the bloc will continue pursuing the SDGs.