DAVOS – ASEAN will first need to develop a sustainable economic structure resilient to outside turbulence, boosting their internal strength to be the nucleus of the regional integration and connectivity, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh told a World Economic Forum session in Davos yesterday.
He said the dynamic growth of ASEAN economies in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2008-09 was one of the important factors encouraging the growth of East Asia.
ASEAN had also been active in promoting regional integration and connectivity by its community building process scheduled to be completed by 2015, and by various economic co-operation arrangements with its partners, including China, Japan, ROK, India, Australia and New Zealand, among others.
Viet Nam, like other ASEAN members, had been implementing economic restructuring focused on public expenditure, the banking sector and enterprises, he said. The country also actively engaged in regional and international economic linkages as well as promoting multi-faceted co-operation with partners.
Deeper intra-bloc economic linkages would not only raise ASEAN’s internal strengths but also turn the Association into a single economy, regionally ranked second, with a population of 600 million and combined GDP of US$ 2,300 billion, Minh said.
At the same time, ASEAN should maximise the advantages of an ASEAN-centered multi-layer and multi-dimensional network of connectivity and integration in East Asia.
He said alongside the Community building process, ASEAN needed to develop a feasible roadmap on integration and connectivity in the post-2015 period, built upon past progress and relevant to the character and development level of ASEAN. It should foresee the possibility and timing to develop ASEAN into a Customs Union or another model of higher integration.
The new roadmap should also address existing and future development-related issues such as green growth, clean energy, water security and environment, narrowing the development gap and sustainable, equitable development, Minh said.
Viet Nam recommended ASEAN place poverty reduction and sustainable development at the center of its development agenda.
He reiterated ASEAN should work closely with its partners to ensure an environment conducive to the implementation and attainment of its goals on integration and connectivity.
The Association needed to maintain its unity, uphold shared responsibilities and maximise its centrality in addressing strategic issues, especially those related to peace, security and stability in the region.
In particular, ASEAN needed to put together and share norms of conduct, including the expansion of the Bali Declaration on the Principles of Mutually Beneficial Relations, towards building a binding code of conduct in East Asia.
ASEAN should also continue its centrality in addressing challenges, both the traditional and non-traditional security ones, including the East Sea (South China Sea) issue. The recent developments in the East Sea affected not only concerned countries, but also peace, stability, maritime security in and flight above the region, Minh said.
“Viet Nam and other ASEAN members share the views that the parties concerned must settle disputes by peaceful means, exercise restraint and not use force and observe the international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS,” Minh said.
The parties concerned should fully implement the DOC and work towards early conclusion for a Code of Conduct (COC) to better ensure peace, security and stability in the East Sea and the region, Minh said, calling for an early substantive negotiation between ASEAN and China on the COC following the first official ASEAN – China SOM consultation last September.