HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bùi Thanh Sơn on Tuesday chaired the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) High-level Policy Dialogue, themed "ASEM at 25: Strengthening Asia-Europe Partnership in a Transforming World" held both in-person and virtually in Hà Nội.
The dialogue is an initiative of Việt Nam to mark the 25th anniversary of ASEM foundation (1996-2021) and is one of the most important activities of the forum in 2021, serving as an important opportunity for members to discuss the development orientation and vision of the Asia-Europe Partnership in the new period.
The outcome will be an important contribution to the 13th ASEM Summit scheduled to be held on November 25-26 in Cambodia.
In his remarks, Vietnamese foreign minister Sơn lauded the remarkable achievements and progress of the partnership over the past 25 years and affirmed that Asia-Europe cooperation continued to be a top priority in Việt Nam's foreign policy.
“The world is witnessing a profound transformation in all aspects as a result of scientific and technological breakthroughs, geo-economic and geopolitical shifts, the emergence of new, complex, inter-related traditional and non-traditional security challenges, and the impact of COVID-19,” Sơn said.
The minister also pointed to numerous hurdles standing in the way of international cooperation, including protectionism, unilateralism, and behaviours that erode international law.
“In such a rapidly changing and complex world, the Asia-Europe Partnership is more important than ever,” he said, stressing that it was "indispensable to the world's stability and prosperity".
It was high time for ASEM to devise a new vision to create new drivers and vitality, and carve out for a befitting role in the evolving regional and global architecture, the minister said.
He called on the member countries to demonstrate stronger resolve, take bolder actions, and choose an appropriate path to move forward so that ASEM would reap more success.
It was important for ASEM to prioritise areas that meet the development needs of its member countries, pay due attention to confidence-building measures, and contribute through concrete actions to the global restructuring process towards inclusive and sustainable development, Sơn suggested.
To this end, he proposed three major objectives for ASEM cooperation in the coming decades, comprising maintaining a favourable international environment of peace, stability, dialogue and trust; playing a leading role and making greater efforts to enhance sustainable and inclusive development; and laying a solid foundation for sustainable, enduring, and mutually beneficial economic ties between Asia and Europe.
With the aim of contributing to building a new vision for the Asia-Europe partnership, the dialogue focused on major changes in the world and the two continents, new factors and trends that impact the cooperation in the coming decades, the role of Asia-Europe cooperation in addressing global challenges, consolidating multilateral cooperation and spurring sustainable and inclusive growth, and Asia-Europe cooperation vision in the next periods.
Attending the talks were Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Prak Sokhonn, Vice President of the European Commission and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Joseph Borell, UK First Secretary of State and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Lao Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith, South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Chung Eui-yong, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, Singaporean Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan and Portuguese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Andre.
South Korean, Singaporean, and the UK foreign ministers are all participating in-person.
The dialogue also was attended by nearly 200 delegates representing government agencies, academia, businesses and social organisations from 53 ASEM member countries, representatives from international organisations such as Mirek Dusek, member of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Executive Committee and Head of Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East; and Caitlin Wiesen, Resident Representative of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Việt Nam.
The delegates shared the view on the significance of the partnership, especially in a rapidly changing and complex world, and committed to promoting close coordination between the member countries.
Appreciating Việt Nam's initiative, they said the dialogue had contributed to maintaining cooperation, given ASEM's activities disrupted by the pandemic.
They said ASEM needed to have a new cooperation vision to better contribute to peace, security, stability and sustainable development in the two continents and the world while meeting development requirements in the member countries.
They suggested innovation in cooperative activities to bring practical benefits to people.
The dialogue has affirmed Việt Nam's role and contributions to ASEM, as well as joint efforts made by the country and other member nations in building the Asia-Europe partnership.
ASEM currently has 53 members – 22 Asian and 31 European countries – after five expansions. ASEM member states account for 60 per cent of the world's population and contribute some 55 per cent of global trade, 65 per cent of global GDP and 75 per cent of global tourism. — VNS
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