09/11/2010 | 15:46:25

Vietnam leaves impression as active ASEAN chair

A series of events throughout the year, Vietnam holds the ASEAN chair in 2010, in particular the 17 th ASEAN Summit late October have proved the country’s active, responsible and trustworthy role, said an official.

In an exclusive interview, Pham Quang Vinh, Assistant to the Foreign Minister and Head of the ASEAN Senior Official Meeting-Vietnam, told the Vietnam News Agency, that the country has left a beautiful impression upon regional as well as global communities.

In reply to a question about Vietnam’s contribution to the ASEAN community roadmap, Vinh said since early in the year, Vietnam has defined the Year’s theme and top priority as “Looking towards the ASEAN Community: From Vision to Action”. The idea has received overwhelming support and consensus from the whole of 10-member ASEAN as well as its partners. The key target calls for finishing the building of the ASEAN Community by 2015 and putting the ASEAN Charter into reality. Other targets include strengthening relations between ASEAN and partners, promoting cooperation to cope with challenges, strengthening an environment of peace and stability and upholding the ASEAN’s central role in the region as well as in building regional structures.

To achieve these goals, Vietnam has actively provided consultancy and taken initiative in designing orientations for ASEAN’s important meetings as well as raising a number of initiatives. As a result, ASEAN meetings in the year focused on measures to speed up progress in building a three pillar-based ASEAN Community. The country has worked closely with other ASEAN members in increasing the efficiency of carrying out programmes and plans for establishing the ASEAN Community and integrating ASEAN targets into national development programmes of each and every member countries. Especially, the 17 th ASEAN Summit approved an overall plan to strengthen ASEAN connectivity in infrastructure, institutions and ordinary people as well as lay a foundation to connect ASEAN with a larger region, namely East Asia.

In regard to the politic-security pillar of the ASEAN Community, Vietnam has worked with the whole of the association to speed up the implementation of 14 priorities and fully enforce existing mechanisms and tools of cooperation for the region to boost peace and security. The country has also proposed and hosted a Meeting of ASEAN Chiefs of Security Agencies (MACOSA) and kicked off the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-plus), thus contributing to deepening and broadening relations between the grouping and its partners. These events have also contributed to promoting the central role played by ASEAN in making a regional structure for peace, stability and cooperation.

In regard to economic issues, Vietnam has joined with other ASEAN members in implementing programmes and targets in a roadmap towards a regional connectivity and an economic community on both national and regional scales. This year saw ASEAN successfully reduce tariffs of almost all categories in trade, services and investment to between zero and five percent. The ASEAN Free Trade area has been strengthening and developing along with the signing and enforcing of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) in place of the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) scheme for AFTA. Other schemes, including the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement and the eighth package commitment to a framework of cooperation in services, have contributed to generating a new momentum to boost ASEAN connectivity and advance towards an ASEAN Economic Community.

This year, Vietnam as ASEAN Chair took initiative in launching an ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community. The ASEAN Committee on Women and Children (ACWC) was founded and worked effectively. Vietnam joined the entire ASEAN in speeding up the construction of a sharing and caring ASEAN Community in the interest of ordinary people and their social welfare. On the road to these achievements, Vietnam has raised a number of initiatives and proposals on the most vital issues in the region. They have resulted in a declaration on restoration and sustainable development and a statement on joint response to climate change; a declaration on human resource development and skills for economic recovery and sustainable development and a declaration on increasing welfare and advancement for ASEAN women and children.

Recently, ASEAN Foreign Ministers passed a declaration on joint search and rescue for people and ships stranded at sea.

These achievements were contributed by the presidency nation through its sound coordination and handling of processes. Vietnam has done a good job, fulfilling a heavy agenda with a large number of meetings and events in all fields from the beginning of the year until today.

In reply to a question about the significance of the freshly ended ASEAN Summit in relation to the Party’s external policy, Vinh reiterated the Party’s readiness to become a friend and reliable partner of all nations while maintaining independence and self-reliance, in explanation for the event’s success.

“We pay special attention to ASEAN cooperation for an ASEAN of strength, solidarity and close connectivity, considering it an importance factor for peace, stability and cooperation in the region, which is of a long-term strategic interest for Vietnam,” emphasised the senior official of the Foreign Ministry.

He said since the beginning of the year, Vietnam has worked out a motto, “Active, taking initiative and responsibility” for its ASEAN presidency.

Vietnam managed to implement this motto throughout the year it holds the ASEAN presidency, contributing to strengthening unity, connectivity and cooperation in the region, deepening relations between the grouping and its partners, continually increasing ASEAN’s international prestige and realising the goal of an ASEAN Community.

ASEAN’s major achievements in the year were partially contributed by Vietnam through its dynamism and responsibility in its capacity of Chairman. The nation’s contribution was highly appreciated by the international community. Vietnam’s image has been increasing in the international arena in the year it holds the ASEAN presidency.

Vinh quoted the Indonesian President, who will take over the ASEAN presidency from Vietnam next year, as saying at the closing ceremony of the 17 th ASEAN Summit that the Year of Vietnam’s ASEAN Presidency has generated a new momentum for the grouping to promote solidarity and its role as well as in the roadmap towards an ASEAN Community./.

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