Việt Nam proposes ASEAN, China prioritise coordination in COVID-19 fight

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Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Quốc Dũng, head of Việt Nam’s ASEAN SOM. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Quốc Dũng, head of Việt Nam’s ASEAN SOM, has suggested ASEAN and China work together to fight COVID-19 and spur a sustainable recovery.

In his remarks on behalf of ASEAN at the 27th ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Consultation (ACSOC), held via video conference on Tuesday, Dũng said despite a raft of challenges caused by the pandemic, the two sides have made efforts to maintain and promote their cooperation momentum, reaping significant achievements.

He also proposed the ten-member group and China work together so as to effectively cope with emerging challenges.

The official emphasised the significance of boosting trade and investment, cooperating in sub-regional development and narrowing development gaps via mechanisms, including the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation.

He expressed his hope that the sides will actively contribute to ensuring an environment of peace, security, stability and rule of law, exercise self-restraint and settle disputes and differences peacefully.

Dũng proposed ASEAN and China continue their close coordination to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and strive to build an effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS).

China reiterated the importance it attaches to ASEAN, its wish to elevate the bilateral ties to new heights, and its support for ASEAN’s centrality in East Asia.

In response, ASEAN applauded China’s contributions to bilateral cooperation across all spheres.

The two sides consented to further their coordination in COVID-19 prevention and control.

China pledged to supply COVID-19 vaccines to countries, including ASEAN member nations, in a fair manner, and work with ASEAN in realising the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework.

The two sides shared the view that despite the impact of the pandemic, ASEAN – China cooperation has been maintained and expanded, with two-way trade jumping 32.9 per cent. ASEAN accounted for 15 per cent of China’s trade revenue, making them leading trade partners of each other over the past year.

The two sides agreed to coordinate to successfully organise activities marking the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-China dialogue relations, creating a new impulse for their cooperation in all fields.

They concurred to strengthen partnership in the COVID-19 fight, ramp up efforts for recovery, boost trade and investment links through the effective implementation of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA), promote trade liberalisation, and press ahead with digital technology and digital economy.

ASEAN countries welcomed China’s early ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) last March, which, they said, demonstrates China’s strong commitment to free and open multilateral trade.

ASEAN and China agreed to soon resume negotiations disrupted by COVID-19 to soon reach the COC.

The countries also discussed other regional and international issues of shared concern.

They consented to organise the Special ASEAN-China Ministers’ Meeting in early June. — VNS

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