Foreign ministers of 10 ASEAN member states gathered today [August 2] for the 54th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (the 54th AMM), the first of a series of more than 20 related meetings that will take place between August 2 and 6 via video links.
|The 54th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting opens on August 2. Photos: Nguyen Hong/ Baoquocte|
The 54th AMM will focus on the progress of ASEAN Community Building, ASEAN 2021 Priorities, and Key Deliverables including the collective and Covid-19 socio-economic recovery strategy.
At the meeting, the ministers will exchange views on ASEAN’s Covid-19 response to outline a path forward for the region’s post-pandemic recovery, in line with Brunei’s ASEAN Chairmanship theme “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper.”
They will also discuss ways to strengthen regional cooperation, ASEAN Centrality, the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus agreed by ASEAN Leaders on April 24, 2021, in Jakarta, and prepare for the upcoming 38th and 39th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in October 2021.
The member states discussed the appointment of the ASEAN Chairman’s special envoy to Myanmar and highlighted the need to launch humanitarian relief to Myanmar in battling Covid-19 through the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Center), according to Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
At the 54th AMM, the foreign ministers will also highlight the importance of the response to Covid-19 with the implementation of the ASEAN Action Plan on vaccine security and reliance, the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergencies (RRMS), and the Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF).
|Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son at the meeting.|
Speaking at the meeting, Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son stressed the need to strengthen political and security cooperation to ensure peace and stability for the region as it is the prerequisite for effectively responding to the pandemic, promoting recovery, and maintaining growth in the region.
In the face of increasing strategic competition among powers, Son said that ASEAN needs a comprehensive approach in relations with current partners as well as cooperation with new potential partners. Accordingly, it needs a thorough review of the operations of ASEAN-led mechanisms in order to continue upholding the goals, values, and roles of these mechanisms as well as promoting the participation and dialogues of ASEAN partners.
Son requested ASEAN to attach importance to women on the regional agendas to promote their engagement in the peace process.
At the meeting, the participants exchanged views on the regional and international issues of mutual concerns like the South China Sea (called East Sea by Vietnam) issues, the Korean Peninsula, the Middle East. Of them, they reiterated the importance of maintaining peace, security, and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.
They also expressed concerns over serious incidents and activities harming the maritime environment.
The ministers affirmed the regional consistent stance on solving disputes based on international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982, and called for the restraint of the related parties to avoid tensions in the region. They highlighted the importance of effective implementation of the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea and resumed negotiations on the Code of Conduct (COC) for the sea between ASEAN and China.
In the week-long series, ASEAN will also engage with ASEAN Dialogue Partners at a series of meetings namely the 22nd ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3, the 11th East Asia Summit (EAS), and the 28th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) with Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and the US.
On this occasion, today, the ministers witnessed the award-granting ceremony of the 2020 ASEAN Prize to the ASEAN Studies Centre (ASC), the first institutional recipient. The prize is aimed at commending outstanding achievements of individuals or organizations who have made meaningful contributions to ASEAN.
The ASEAN Studies Centre (ASC), under the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, was established in 2008 to research issues pertaining to ASEAN as an institution and a process. Through research, publications, conferences, media engagement, and outreach activities, ASC seeks to promote a greater understanding of ASEAN and to contribute toward regional cooperation and integration.