ARF boosts cooperation in COVID-19 fight, peaceful settlement of East Sea disputes
sonnguyen 13-09-2020, 15:28

ARF boosts cooperation in COVID-19 fight, peaceful settlement of East Sea disputes

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh chairs the 27th ASEAN Regional Forum videoconference (Photo: vov.vn)

The meeting agreed that the ARF should implement measures to build trust, enforce preventive diplomacy, and further strengthen cooperation in priority areas such as disaster relief, counter-terrorism and transnational crime, marine security, cybersecurity, anti-proliferation and disarmament of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction. The Ministers called for enhanced coordination between the ARF and other mechanisms of ASEAN. Countries agreed with Vietnam’s proposal on issuing an ARF Declaration on Strengthening Cooperation in Prevention and Response to an Infectious Disease Outbreak.


Amid complicated developments, serious cases and violations of international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Ministers once again emphasized self-restraint from actions that complicate the situation, non-militarization, and peaceful settlement of disputes on the basis of international law, including UNCLOS. The meeting supported the effective and full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and urged ASEAN and China to soon finalize an effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in accordance with international law, especially UNCLOS. The Ministers reaffirmed that 1982 UNCLOS is the legal framework governing all activities in the sea areas and oceans.


Speaking at the conference, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh emphasized that in the context of uncertainties, the ARF needs and can further promote its role and contribution, especially in maintaining dialogue and cooperation, strengthen trust building, mutual understanding and policy coordination, take action to respond proactively to existing and emerging challenges, including COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister affirmed that ASEAN will endeavor to work with China in fully and effectively implementing the DOC and soon finalizing an effective COC in line with international law, especially UNCLOS.


The Ministers approved the Hanoi Action Plan II, setting priorities and directions for ARF cooperation from 2020 to 2025. The meeting issued the ARF 27 President Statement.