31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
Jun 30, 2021 / 14:25

Asia-Pacific highlights cooperation in Covid-19

As the pandemic circumstances continue to evolve in the region, member states stressed the importance of cooperation in vaccine access and post-pandemic plans.

Representatives of 27 members of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) highlighted the role of cooperation and dialogues in the face of uncertainties in the international situation when they gathered for the ARF Senior Officials’ Meeting (ARF SOM) held virtually on June 29.

Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung at the ARF event held on June 29. Photo: Nguyen Hong

The countries’ representatives emphasized the role of cooperation in building trust and promoting diplomacy in the region and the world at a time when many activities are limited due to the impact of Covid-19.

They discussed the progress of the Hanoi Action Plan II for the ARF (2020-2025) and agreed to submit to the 28th ARF, slated for August 6, the working orientation of issues namely maritime security, information security, and disaster relief in the upcoming time.

Notably, they emphasized that priority should be given to cooperation in pandemic control and post-pandemic recovery.

Of the issues, fair and equal access to Covid-19 vaccines is of significance, demonstrating the involving parties’ commitments to supporting each other in this process.

In addition, the countries agreed on a list of nearly 20 new proposals out of a total of more than 40 activities for the mid-year 2021-2022, in areas such as preventive diplomacy, disaster relief, combating terrorism and crime, transnational security, maritime security, cybersecurity, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, defense cooperation and peacekeeping.

Delivering the speech at the event, Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung underscored the cooperation in finding ways to enhance the effectiveness of ARF’s joint actions in the face of emerging challenges.

Concerning the results of the ASEAN-China Special Foreign Ministers Meeting in early June in Chongqing, China, Quoc Dung welcomed the efforts of ASEAN and China to resume negotiations on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea (called East Sea by Vietnam).

In the context that the region is facing both traditional and non-traditional security threats, Dung said the parties need to continue to fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) while exercising restraint and complying with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Established in 1994, the ARF is an important platform for security dialogue in the Asia-Pacific. It aims at fostering constructive dialogue and consultation on political and security issues of common interest and concerns and making significant contributions to efforts towards confidence-building and preventive diplomacy in the region.