DPM, FM Pham Binh Minh’s remarks at 2017 AMM
20:21 | 28/04/2017

VGP – The following is the full remarks delivered by Deputy PM, FM Pham Binh Minh at the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Manila, the Philippines on April 28.

Mr. Chair,                                           

Our meeting is taking place against the backdrop of rising tensions in the region. The recent DPRK’s repeated violations of the relevant UNSC Resolutions and reactions of some parties have led to escalation of hostility, thus adding to the uncertainty and unpredictability in the regional situation. Moreover, the situation in the South China Sea is still far from tranquility with ongoing actions such as land reclamation and militarization, raising serious concerns of not only countries in the region but also of the world over. Beside these challenges, the heightened strategic competition among major powers, the rise of globalization  skepticism and inward-looking policies as well as non-traditional security issues, such as terrorism and transnational crimes, kidnapping and armed robbery against ships at sea have posed daunting challenges to our region. These have caused great concerns on our overall security environment, affecting the community building process and ASEAN centrality.

In this context, it is very much imperative for the ASEAN family to continue to associate ourselves in a common stance and uphold centrality and unity to address the pressing issues in a timely and effectively manner, thus maintaining peace and stability in the region. In this regard, I would like to propose that we step up our efforts in the common endeavor of Community building, especially through full and effective implementation of the ASEAN Vision 2025. At the same time, Strengthening cooperation with external partners, especially the major powers, will help forge ASEAN’s central role in promoting dynamic cooperation, strategic stability, and and ensure that they contribute positively and constructively to the region.

In this connection, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the outcomes of my recent bilateral visit to the United States during which I met with Secretary Tillerson and other high-level officials of the Trump Administration. The US expressed their continued interests and commitment to ASEAN and the whole region. Therefore, I believe that the upcoming special ASEAN – US FM Meeting will be a valuable opportunity for both sides to set the course for future strengthened ASEAN – US strategic partnership. In this regard, I appreciate Malaysia’s initiative to hold such an important meeting. 

With regard to our relationship with China, I am pleased with the ongoing efforts from both sides to further deepen and expand the relations and contribute to regional peace and prosperity. In this light, I am optimistic with the possibility of adopting the COC framework at the upcoming PMC ASEAN – China in August. I believe that a comprehensive COC framework encompassing interests of all parties will lay a solid foundation for early adoption of a legally binding, effective and substantive COC. Its provisions should, in practical terms, set the tone for the peaceful resolution of disputes and for transformation of the South China Sea into a sea of peace and cooperation.

It is equally important for ASEAN to continue strengthening our inner strength and vitality. This year, we are going to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our organization. We should make the best use of this opportunity to raise the spirit of ASEAN Community, and bring new momentum to ASEAN’s integration and growth. Joint actions should be undertaken to realize the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 through concrete programmes that serve the interests of our people and encourage participation from all walks of life in the community-building process.

Next, we also should focus our attention to the institutional structure of ASEAN. I am glad that the CPR has come up with several suggestions for the ASEAN Charter updating. But we also must take into consideration of the cross-cutting and cross-pillar issues which have created a maze that significantly bogged down our cooperation process. I’d like to suggest that we task our Senior Officials to continue to work on these issues to pave the way for our Community to grow.

Last but not least, the development gap among the members of Association has been affecting the inclusiveness of our Community building efforts. As the Chair of the IAI Taskforce, Viet Nam will spare no efforts to further promote the effective implementation of the IAI Work Plan III including through feasible proposals on food and agriculture, MSMEs, and trade facilitation, etc. We hope to receive continued supports from all other members to carry out this task.

Thank you very much for your attention./.

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