Berlin (EAST SEA) Friday, January 19th, 2024 / 03:24 AM

ASEAN FMs issue statement on maintaining, promoting stability in maritime sphere in Southeast Asia

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers on December 30 issued a statement on maintaining and promoting stability in the maritime sphere in Southeast Asia.

This is the 5th time ASEAN has issued a statement on maritime issues since 1995. (Photo: asean.org)

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers on December 30 issued a statement on maintaining and promoting stability in the maritime sphere in Southeast Asia.

In the statement, the ministers said they closely follow with concern the recent developments in the East Sea and reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, safety, security, stability, and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the maritime sphere of Southeast Asia, particularly the East Sea.

“We also reaffirm the need to restore and enhance mutual trust and confidence as well as exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability, avoid actions that may further complicate the situation and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS,” wrote the statement.

The FMs underscored the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) in its entirety and committed to working towards the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) that is in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.

They also reiterated the importance of peaceful dialogue that contributes constructively to the promotion of regional stability and cooperation in the maritime domain. Welcoming the recent holding of a maritime dialogue between China and the US in Beijing and the meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the margins of the APEC Leaders’ Meeting in California, they hoped that such dialogues will continue to further ASEAN’s efforts to strengthen stability and cooperation in the region’s maritime sphere.

This is the 5th time ASEAN has issued a statement on maritime issues since 1995, with the most recent statement on the East Sea released in 2014.

Asked about the significance of the statement, spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry Pham Thu Hang said at the ministry’s regular press briefing on January 11 that it demonstrates the solidarity, unified voice, central role, and determination of ASEAN in safeguarding peace and stability and in building maritime spaces including the East Sea into a space of cooperation and development. The statement also reaffirms the regional bloc’s stance and principle on trust building, self-restraint, and peaceful settlement of disputes on the basis of international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The spokesperson added that it also conveys the message of ASEAN wishing partners to support and contribute to the realisation of this vision.

As an active and responsible member of ASEAN, Vietnam is ready to work with ASEAN member states and other partners in this effort, Hang said./.

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