Vietnam PM Attends 25th ASEAN Summit

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HCMC – Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has attended the 25th ASEAN Summit in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw. The PM discussed a range of issues including the East Sea dispute and ASEAN economic integration, as well as meeting with a number of world leaders.

ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, was founded in 1967 and is made up of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Collectively, ASEAN represents a market of some 600 million people, with a combined GDP of about US$2.5 trillion and upwards of US$1.5 trillion in trade flowing throughout the region.

Speaking on the East Sea dispute, the PM stated that “ASEAN should play an active role in maintaining peace, security and stability in the region, and implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea.” In particular, he pointed to Article 5 of the Declaration, which states that all parties should “not use or threaten to use force, and must settle all disputes peacefully while respecting international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

In addition to the East Sea issue, PM Dung also called for cooperation on a number of other security challenges, such as epidemics, climate change, water resource security, and terrorism.

During the plenary session of the Summit meeting, ASEAN leaders discussed a range of issues including:

  • ASEAN Economic Community progress (it was agreed that this was 80 percent complete)
  • The post-2015 ASEAN community
  • Efforts to strengthen partnerships
  • Regional and international matters of common concern
  • the ASEAN Declaration on Climate Change
  • The establishment of an ASEAN Institution for Green Economy to foster more cooperation on climate change

PM Dung also had a key meeting with US President Obama. During the two leaders’ time together, President Obama stated that “obviously, the United States and Vietnam have a very complex and difficult history, but for the last several years what we’ve seen is deeper and deeper engagement and opportunities to cooperate.” In the face of an increasingly expansionary China, Vietnam and the US have continued to make efforts to strengthen their relationship on a number of fronts, including economic and military.

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PM Dung also met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.  The two leaders discussed such topics as the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, Vietnam’s bid to become a member of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for the 2016-2018 term, and its bid for non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council in 2020-2021.

Among other important meetings for the PM, was his meeting with Russian PM Dmitri Medvedev. PM Dung discussed the ongoing free-trade agreement negotiations between Vietnam and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. The two countries have set the goal of increasing their trade volume to US$7 billion by 2015, and US$10 billion by 2020.

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