HANOI, Sept 10 — Amid the Covid-19 and its complicated developments, East Asia Summit (EAS) countries need to enhance practical cooperation, and raise their capacity to respond to and minimise negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic while promoting sustainable regional recovery, foreign ministers of EAS countries said at the 10th EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held on Wednesday.
According to Vietnam News Agency (VNA), while acknowledging the progress in implementing the Manila Action Plan 2018-2022, they had also agreed to continue boosting cooperation in priority areas, including environment, energy, education, finance, health, disaster management, connectivity, economics, trade, food security, and marine cooperation.
The meeting, which was hosted by Vietnam and held virtually Wednesday, was chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.
The video conference was attended by Asean Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi, Asean foreign ministers, and representatives from EAS partners, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States (US).
The VNA report also said that Asean recommended the EAS partners, with their strengths, support Asean to improve its capacity for preventive medicine, coordinate information sharing and exchange of experience in treatment, research and production of vaccines, and minimise socio-economic impact while promoting sustainable economic recovery and growth.
Participants welcomed Vietnam’s proposal to host an EAS inter-sectoral expert conference on Covid-19 to strengthen response and recovery efforts in the region, slated for October 2020.
Fifteen years after its establishment, the EAS is now facing both new opportunities and challenges in the context of unprecedentedly rapid and complex changes in the region. The countries need to coordinate closely to strengthen the group in the new phase, contributing positively to dialogue and cooperation, maintaining peace, security and prosperity, and effectively responding to emerging challenges in the region, VNA reported.
At the meeting, participants also exchanged views on regional and international situations of mutual interest, including the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the East Sea, Myanmar’s Rakhine state, and Hong Kong.
Regarding the situation in the East Sea, they had emphasised the importance of peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, which is a common interest of all countries. They also expressed concerns about recent developments in the waters that cause harms to peace, security and the rule of the law in the region, especially amid the Covid-19 outbreak, VNA reported.
The countries stressed the need to push up dialogues and intensify the building of trust; and to refrain from the acts that worsen tension and complicate the situation, from militarisation, and from the use of or threat to use force. The disputes must be settled by peaceful measures on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.
The meeting called on Asean and China to fully and effectively implement the Declaration of the Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and work to soon complete the building of an effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), consistent with international law and recognised by the international community.