HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam has officially assumed its role as the coordinator for relations between ASEAN and the Republic of Korea (RoK) for 2021-24 at the ASEAN-RoK Foreign Ministers' Meeting held via video conference on Tuesday.
Speaking at the event, Vietnam's foreign minister Bùi Thanh Sơn affirmed Việt Nam would work with other countries to intensify and deepen the ASEAN-RoK strategic partnership.
Sơn said he appreciated the RoK’s increasingly important role in the region and welcomed its New Southern Policy that aims to deepen its partnership with ASEAN and Southeast Asia.
He suggested the RoK continue to supply COVID-19 vaccines to ASEAN countries and support the bloc's efforts to narrow the development gap and promote equitable and sustainable development in the ASEAN sub-regions, including the Mekong.
The Vietnamese minister thanked the RoK for supporting ASEAN's principle stance on the East Sea (known internationally as the South China Sea), and proposed the nation cooperate in promoting dialogue and trust-building, exercising restraint and respecting international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
He affirmed ASEAN’s commitment to fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and maintaining efforts to achieve an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in accordance with international law and the UNCLOS.
He also asserted ASEAN’s support for the RoK's efforts to promote peace, stability and complete denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula, stressing that ASEAN is ready to play a constructive role and help to facilitate dialogue among parties involved in an ASEAN-led mechanism.
Addressing the meeting, RoK Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong affirmed that his country attached great importance to its strategic partnership with ASEAN. He emphasised that ASEAN was the priority of its New Southern Policy and that the RoK backed the grouping’s central role in regional architecture and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).
In addition to US$1 million in support for ASEAN's pandemic response, the RoK proposed organising an ASEAN-RoK Health Ministers' Meeting in 2021 and strengthening dialogue between medical teams on both sides.
Sơn said ASEAN countries appreciated the RoK's timely and effective support, asking it to promote cooperation in the development, production and supply of COVID-19 vaccines.
Participants stressed the need to maintain a peaceful, secure, and stable region and to support pandemic prevention and control, and post-pandemic recovery efforts.
The RoK said it backed ASEAN's stance on the East Sea and welcomed the bloc promoting cooperation, dialogue and trust building in the region, and building an efficient and effective COC, in accordance with international law and the UNCLOS.
At this meeting, the two sides agreed to issue a Declaration on strengthening ASEAN-RoK cooperation on AOIP at the 22nd ASEAN-RoK Summit later this year. — VNS
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