Myanmar commences role as ASEAN Chair; hosts Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bagan

BAGAN, 17 January 2014 – Myanmar’s Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, U Wunna Maung chaired the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat today in Bagan. The Retreat is the first in the series of ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meetings under Myanmar’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2014 which has for its theme “Moving forward in Unity to a Peaceful and Prosperous Community.”

During the Retreat, ASEAN Foreign Ministers discussed the priorities of ASEAN for 2014. The issues include ASEAN’s efforts to speed up community building and ASEAN integration and to move forward the realisation of Master Plan for ASEAN Community. The ASEAN Ministers also discussed the development of ASEAN Vision for Post 2015 ASEAN Community as guided by ASEAN Leaders’ Statement at 23rd ASEAN Summit and explored ways to strengthen ASEAN’s external relations.

On the regional and international issue, the Ministers stressed the importance of upholding ASEAN’s centrality in the evolving regional architecture and in addressing issues of common interest . The Ministers also discussed ways to further contribute to the peace, stability and prosperity of the region and beyond.

The Foreign Ministers expressed their concerns on the recent developments in the South China Sea. They further reaffirmed ASEAN’s Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea and the

importance of maintaining peace and stability, maritime security, freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea.

They called on all Parties concerned to resolve their disputes by peaceful means in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and urged continued self-restraint in the conduct of activities. They called on all parties to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) to undertake the full and effective implementation of the DOC in order to build an environment of mutual trust and confidence. They emphasized the need to expeditiously work towards early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).