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Foreign Minister Boy Than Son (center) during the European Union and Association of Southeast Asian Nations foreign ministers meeting online on August 6.
Photo ; Fam Kien / VNA / CVN
The participating countries welcomed the fact that ASEAN and the EU are elevating bilateral relations to the level of strategic partnership, stressing their strong commitment to strengthening cooperation on the basis of sharing common values, principles and interests, and effectively contributing to peace, stability and prosperity. ASEAN accepted the proposal of the European Union to hold the forty-fifth sessionNS Anniversary of bilateral relations in Brussels, Belgium in 2022.
On behalf of ASEAN, as the country coordinating relations, Singapore’s Foreign Minister emphasized that the European Union has always been an important partner for ASEAN, and welcomed the recent positive progress of cooperation between the two parties.
The European Union is the second largest investor in ASEAN with a total capital of $7.6 billion and a trading partner of ASEAN with a total turnover of $258 billion in 2020.
ASEAN countries highly appreciate the EU’s implementation of the €800 million Team Europe program to support ASEAN in disease prevention and the €20 million ‘Epidemic Preparedness in Southeast Asia’ programme.
Meanwhile, the EU called for continued support for ASEAN’s COVID-19 prevention initiatives and coordination to ensure access, supply and research and development of safe, fair and effective vaccines in the region.
Foreign Minister Bùi Thanh Son at the event on August 6.
Photo: Pham Kien/VNA/CVN
On the regional and international situation, the ASEAN countries and the European Union stressed the importance of peace, stability, security, safety, freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea, support for dialogue and confidence-building, and the settlement of disputes by peaceful means, on the basis of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the European Union affirmed their support for efforts to resume negotiations on an effective and efficient Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in accordance with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Speaking at the meeting, Foreign Minister Boy Than Son underlined the importance of the ASEAN-EU strategic partnership, making positive contributions to efforts to enhance multilateral cooperation and regional communication.
He welcomed the fact that the European Union is playing a leading role in global efforts to respond to the pandemic, implement technology and innovation, promote multilateral trade, support recovery and respond to climate change.
Minister Bùi Thanh Son suggested that the European Union support ASEAN for rapid and adequate access to vaccines, taking into account the transfer of vaccine production technology and the improvement of vaccine self-sufficiency in the region.
The minister also suggested that the EU, which is ASEAN’s largest economic partner, should enhance coordination with ASEAN to stabilize supply chain communications, facilitate trade and investment, and explore the possibility of developing the ASEAN-EU FTA on the basis of free trade. Agreements are available between the European Union and a number of ASEAN member states, including Vietnam.
The Vietnamese top diplomat emphasized that the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is the legal basis governing all activities in the seas and oceans. The Minister stressed the need to respect the legitimate rights and interests of coastal states stipulated in the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea.
At the end of the meeting, the Philippines formally assumed the role of coordinator of ASEAN-EU relations for the period 2021-2024.
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