Breakthroughs, enhancements needed to boost ASEAN – Australia relations: PM ?

Melbourne: Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh underlined the necessity to create breakthroughs and promote mutual commitments to further strengthen the ASEAN - Australia relations to commemorate the 50th anniversary while addressing the plenary session of the Special Summit in Melbourne on March 6. While highlighting the significance of the summit, the Vietnamese government leader spoke highly of the close and long-standing relationship between ASEAN and Australia and Australia's cooperation with and support for the bloc over the last five decades. According to PM Chinh, the two sides need to make breakthroughs in economic, trade, and investment cooperation, aiming to double the trade turnover in the next 10 years; in human resources development cooperation, especially in high-quality human resources and labour cooperation; and in science-technology and innovation cooperation, focusing on developing digital economy, green transformation, circular economy, and emerging sectors such as semiconductor chips, artifi cial intelligence. He also emphasised the need to strengthen political trust and cooperation in ensuring global peace and security, promote cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchange, and leverage the strengths of over 1 million ASEAN-origin people in Australia, including over 350,000 overseas Vietnamese (OVs). ASEAN and Australia should join hands to promote a region that respects and acts on international law, with countries complying with the UN Charter and international law, and respecting ASEAN's principles and codes of conduct (COC), and accelerate the building of new ones, including a practical and effective COC in the East Sea that makes the East Sea become the waters of peace, stability, cooperation and development. Leaders of both sides adopted the ASEAN - Australia Leaders' Vision Statement - Partners for Peace and Prosperity, and the Melbourne Declaration - A Partnership for the Future, outlining orientations to develop the bilateral ties in all areas in the coming time. Participants e xpressed satisfaction with the development of the ASEAN - Australia relations and the achievements of their cooperation, especially since the establishment of the Strategic Partnership in 2014 and the upgrade to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2021. They focused their discussion on future development orientations of the newly-upgraded ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). They also agreed to intensify cooperation in new areas such as innovation, digital economy, green transition, energy transition, and e-commerce, thus turning these into new growth drivers for the economic relations between ASEAN and Australia. ASEAN welcomed Australia's approval of an additional 222.5 million AUD (145 million USD) for cooperation with Mekong sub-region countries, the establishment of an investment fund worth 2 billion AUD, and other initiatives to promote trade and investment cooperation with ASEAN countries in the coming time. The two sides agreed to expand political, security and defence cooperation, maritime cooperation, cybersecurity cooperation, especially within ASEAN-initiated and led mechanisms and forums, contributing to shaping the regional structure based on the rule of law with ASEAN at the centre, implementing cooperation based on the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). Participants emphasised the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security and safety of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, peacefully resolving disputes based on international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982). They call for the full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and efforts to soon achieve an effective and substantive COC in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS 1982./. Source: Vietnam News Agency

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