Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh chairs the international press conference (Photo: VNA)

The figure was announced by Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh at an international press conference in Hanoi on September 12 following the conclusion of the meetings.

Minh said AMM 53 has been a success, which reflects ASEAN’s responsiveness and determination that help Vietnam productively organise the video conferences amid the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the framework of AMM 53, the ASEAN foreign ministers, guests and partners attended 19 meetings, including AMM 53, Special Session of the ASEAN Coordinating Council Meeting on Sub-regional Development, the 10th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Interface with ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) Representatives, the ASEAN  Ministerial Dialogue on Strengthening Women’s Role for Sustainable Peace and Security, and the 27th ASEAN Regional Forum.

Forty two documents have been adopted, the biggest number of documents adopted in the history of ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meetings. They include the Joint Communique' of AMM 53 and the ARF Hanoi Plan of Action II (2020-2025).

The ASEAN Foreign Ministers continued affirm strong determination and commitment to fully and effectively implementing goals and priorities on the spirit of “Cohesive and Responsive” ASEAN 2020.

In parallel with that are efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, ASEAN needs to  support the people and businesses to overcome the consequences of the disease, step by step recover the economy and return their life to normal.

The ministers affirmed the determination to maintain Southeast Asia as a region of peace, security, neutrality and stability while strengthening ASEAN’s centrality, unity and resilience, and promoting trust building, mutual respect and the rule of law in line with the spirit of the Foreign Ministers' Statement on the occasion of marking the 53rd founding anniversary of ASEAN on August 8, 2020.

Participants discussed measures to strengthen partnerships of ASEAN for peace and sustainable development. Partners continue support the central role of ASEAN in shaping an open, inclusive, transparent and rules-based regional architecture.

They affirmed that ASEAN and partners will continue promoting effective cooperation in responding to emerging challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and promoting comprehensive recovery.

ASEAN agreed to grant the status of development partnership to France and Italy, while admitting Columbia and Cuba in the ASEAN’s Treaty on Amity and Cooperation (TAC).

During the meetings, participants discussed non-traditional security challenges, such as terrorism, transnational crime, natural disasters and climate change, as well as international and regional issues of common concern.

The ministers reiterated ASEAN's principled position and emphasised the importance and benefits of peace, security, stability and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, which is the common benefits of all countries and supported by ASEAN partners.

They affirmed the parties need to promote dialogue; build trust; and refrain from the acts that further complicate the situation; and avoid militarisation, use or threat to use force; settle disputes through peaceful measures on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.

They expressed the hope the DOC will be fully and effectively implemented and urged parties to soon finalise an effective and efficient COC in accordance with international law.

ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi spoke highly of Vietnam’s comprehensive and professional preparations and outcomes of AMM 53, with the biggest number of documents adopted within the framework of ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meetings so far.

“Digital meetings, video conferences do not stop us create an environment to produce one of the most productive meetings of ASEAN foreign ministers,” he said, adding “this is the testament that we able to do this without no face-to-face meeting.”

Minh said, as the ASEAN Chair 2020, Vietnam is actively preparing for the 37th ASEAN Summit slated for November this year, though the developments of the COVID-19 pandemic are unpredictable.

Vietnam is exerting its utmost efforts to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, Minh said, expressing his hope that ASEAN nations and partners will overcome the pandemic so that ASEAN foreign ministers will be able to meet face-to-face in the upcoming 37th ASEAN Summit./.

CPV (Source: VNA)