Cooperation on 3 Asean pillars crucial
Collaboration among the three pillars of the ASEAN Community—political security, economics, and socio-cultural issues—determines ASEAN’s success and should be promoted, said Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of Vietnam-ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting.
He spoke at a conference on ASEAN Community pillars held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday in Hanoi on the occasion of 50th anniversary of ASEAN’s founding. Representatives of relevant Government ministries and sectors engaged in the three pillars of ASEAN Community attended the event to review Vietnam’s participation and to plan tasks for the upcoming time.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh said that this year, import and export turnover between Vietnam and ASEAN have increased, showing Vietnam’s integration into the wider ASEAN market.
Vietnam successfully hosted APEC 2017, giving Vietnam experience that will be useful when it takes over ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020, he said.
Deputy Foreign Minister Dung said “ASEAN co-operation has great potential. Coherence and integration are still common priorities. Co-operation for development is a primary tool to reach ASEAN goals. ASEAN continues to play an important role in the policies of its partners, especially major countries.”
In terms of political and security co-operation towards the goal of building a rules-based, people-oriented and people-centred community, the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 has been implemented effectively. This has contributed to forming the identities of the ASEAN Political-Security Community, strengthening ASEAN self-reliance and maintaining regional peace, security and stability and intensifying external relations, Dung said.
Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said that ASEAN economic co-operation had achieved practical outcomes, contributing significantly to ASEAN growth.
However, ASEAN economic co-operation also faced numerous challenges, such as rising protectionism, lesser attention given to multilateral co-operation in favor of bilateral negotiations and a lack of spearheaded projects to make joint economic plans meet their goals, he said.
Deputy Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Hong Lan proposed focusing on raising ASEAN awareness among the public and developing personnel capacity.
Participants agreed that Vietnam’s 22-year membership in ASEAN has brought about important and practical benefits to the country, including creating a stable environment for socio-economic development, protecting national sovereignty and security, strengthening international integration and enhancing Vietnam’s international position.
In the context of complicated and unpredictable developments, ASEAN has faced challenges which require common effort and contributions from member states, including Vietnam, they agreed.
Vietnam’s participation in ASEAN faces challenges of awareness, resources, and coordination among sectors, they said.
“Vietnam needs to continue exploit the Free Trade Agreement signed with ASEAN to create conditions for domestic enterprises to integrate into regional trade, investment and services while attracting attention from foreign investors and businessmen to maintain the competitiveness and development of the economy,” Deputy Foreign Minister Dung said.
Deputy Prime Minister Minh asked relevant sectors and agencies to raise their understanding of the importance of ASEAN to Vietnam while consolidating their apparatus, enhancing personnel capacity and proposing a roadmap to implement specific cooperative activities in each sector.
He urged sectors to compile a draft to amend working regulations and coordination between Vietnamese agencies participating in ASEAN which was issued in 2009 and enhance the coordinating role of Vietnam’s ASEAN National Secretariat.
To prepare for Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020, the Deputy Prime Minister requested relevant sectors to work with Ministry of Foreign Affairs to propose priorities and key initiatives, demonstrating Vietnam’s “proactive, active and responsible” contributions to ASEAN co-operation.
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