ASEAN foreign ministers highlight cooperation in health, maritime, energy

PHNOM PENH: Foreign ministers of ASEAN member countries emphasised on regional cooperation in vaccine research and production and health system improvement at a ministerial level meeting on Wednesday held in Cambodia’s Phnom Penh. 

During the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-55) which opened on the same day in Cambodia – the Chair of ASEAN 2022, the officials also discussed the bloc connectivity, narrowing the development gap, maritime cooperation along with issues such as climate change, food security and energy.

The ministers agreed that ASEAN should promote its responsibilities, maintain solidarity, act in unity and react flexibly in all situations, reported Vietnam News Agency. 

Regarding international cooperation, the ASEAN top diplomats emphasised that the bloc needs to take a balanced approach, have a common voice, effectively promote ASEAN-led mechanisms, dialogue, and raise trust and compliance with international laws. 

Expressing their deep concern about the situation in Myanmar, the ministers welcomed and supported the efforts of the ASEAN Chair and the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair in supporting the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus. 

They also discussed solutions for the bloc to participate effectively and build a favourable environment for dialogue in Myanmar. 

The ASEAN ministers discussed a number of emerging issues in the region, especially new developments in the East Sea, major power competition, and conflicts in Ukraine and the Korean peninsula.

They called on relevant parties to exercise restraint, avoid actions that complicate the situation, respect international law, and the principles of documents including the United Nations Charter, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982. 

The ASEAN diplomats also witnessed the signing of TAC of Denmark, Greece, Netherlands, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates.

Sharing his views on maintaining ASEAN’s solidarity and balance, Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bùi Thanh Sơn encouraged countries to stick with the common stance on the East Sea, striving to maintain a favourable environment for an effective and efficient Code of Conduct for the South China Sea (COC) in accordance with international law, the UNCLOS 1982. 

He also reaffirmed Vietnam’s consistent stance on international and regional issues such as the conflict in Ukraine, major power competition and the situation in Myanmar.

Foreign ministers of ASEAN countries and their partners will attend the ASEAN+1 and ASEAN+3 meetings on Thursday. – BERNAMA

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