VietNamNet Bridge – Speaking on the sideline of the Senior Officials’ Meeting
(SOM) to prepare for the 44th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM44) in Bali,
Indonesia on July 18, Vietnam’s SOM chief Pham Quang Vinh said ASEAN agreed to
promote the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).
Foreign Minister’s assistant Pham Quang Vinh
“DOC is a very important document that ASEAN signed with China. This time ASEAN agreed to continue promoting it for peace, stability and maritime security and to solve disputes by peaceful measures under international law,” Vinh stressed.
According to Vinh, ASEAN senior officials reached agreement on the implementation of DOC to exchange with China.
An unofficial source said that Vietnam and China will have a bilateral meeting at ministerial levels during the AMM44 and the 18th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF18) in Indonesia.
Vin added that SOM will submit to the East Asia Summit a declaration of the principles for mutual-benefit ties this year’s end.
ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan told the media on the sideline of ongoing ASEAN’s meetings in Bali that ASEAN and its partners, as well as the international community are worried that tension and potential conflicts in the East Sea may affect marine lanes inside and outside Southeast Asia.
He believed that the AMM44 and ARF18 will provider effective frameworks to discuss this issue. “We are responsible to get back the world’s trust that ASEAN, particularly ASEAN and China, can solve the East Sea disputes peacefully, based on structures that they sign together,” he said.
He also said that ASEAN and China are expected to finalize the guidelines to implement a declaration of conduct among countries involved in disputes in the East Sea this year.
''I can see that there is a strong determination on both sides that we will try to finish this within this year and then take advantage of next year at the 10th anniversary of the DOC,'' ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan told Kyodo News.
Speaking at a press conference on July 18, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said that tension is escalating in the East Sea but the tension urges ASEAN to seek progress in this issue.
He said that the East Sea disputes will be discussed at the AMM44 and the ASEAN-China meeting. An Indonesian official previously said that this issue will be considered at the consultation meeting of East Asian Foreign Ministers.
As the host country and not a claimant in the East Sea, Indonesia wants to take advantage of energy and focus that related countries have on the East Sea disputes in a positive way, instead of seeking someone to blame, the Indonesian Foreign Minister said.
“Last year the situation was also tense but we did not have solutions. This year, unfortunately tension still exists but we possibly find out a positive solution,” he said.
Thuy Chung (from Bali)