Vietnam stresses importance of ASEAN’s centrality in maritime cooperation
Vietnamese Ambassador Vu Ho emphasised the importance of maintaining ASEAN’s centrality in the region as well as in maritime cooperation while addressing the 12th ASEAN Maritime Forum (AMF) and the 10th Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF) on December 6 - 7.
The forums took place in Manila under the chair of the Philippines.
Addressing the events, the ambassador, who is also acting head of the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) delegation of Vietnam, spoke highly of the role of the AMF and EAMF in promoting maritime cooperation in ASEAN and between the bloc and partners.
He called on partners to continue supporting and cooperating with ASEAN in a mutual trust and constructive spirit, and making substantive and effective contributions to activities of ASEAN’s mechanisms, including the EAMF.
As countries are facing many complicated maritime security issues, Ho stressed countries’ sense of responsibility towards and goodwill in maintaining peace, security, stability, and cooperation in sea areas of the region, including the East Sea/South China Sea, on the basis of promoting dialogue, consultation, adherence with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and serious implementation of international commitments and agreements.
In addition, he noted, together with the post-COVID-19 recovery process, the UNCLOS enforcement should be considered comprehensively and reasonably, with such issues as marine environment protection and climate change response taken into account.
The Vietnamese diplomat called on countries in the region to take concrete and effective measures for fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, describing this as a long-term and complicated task that requires cooperation from all countries and parties.
Particularly, as recovery and development are now a common priority in the region, the combat against IUU fishing needs to take people’s life into consideration while impositions or excessive protection measures should be avoided or people’s livelihoods could be affected.
At the forums, ASEAN countries and partners reviewed regional maritime cooperation and security in the recent past and discussed orientations for the forums’ activities for the time ahead.
They stressed the role of the AMF and EAMF in promoting dialogue, improving awareness, boosting multilateral approach, and enhancing cooperation among countries and international and regional organisations to cope with emerging maritime issues.
In the face of increasingly complicated, multi-dimensional, multi-sectoral, and trans-national maritime issues, they shared the view on the need to bring into play the two mechanisms in coordinating efforts to foster maritime cooperation in ASEAN and the region.
Participants looked into the situation, impacts, and experience in dealing with many maritime security challenges, especially the sea level rise caused by climate change, marine pollution, marine debris, piracy, and IUU fishing. They stressed the necessity for establishing mechanisms for bilaterally and multilaterally sharing information in a timely and effective manner, stepping up trust building, and enhancing the capacity of coordinating policies and implementing concerted and overall measures on the basis of relevant international agreements.
The countries also highlighted the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea and considered this a common interest.
They underlined the need to comply with the 1982 UNCLOS; appealed for self-restraint, no complication of the situation, and peaceful settlement of disputes on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS; and supported the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and the building of a code of conduct (COC) in the waters in line with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.
The 13th AMF and 11th EAMF are scheduled to be held in Indonesia in 2023.