The G7 and ASEAN agreed about the need to respect international law in the South China Sea at their first meeting of foreign ministers on Sunday.
At the virtual event, the ministers affirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, a global navigation lifeline, a press release by Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
They also supported the promotion of dialogue and trust building, self-restraint, peaceful settlement of disputes by peaceful means and on the basis of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
They expressed the desire to soon see an effective and efficient Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (COC) in accordance with international law and UNCLOS.
Foreign ministers of the G7 and ASEAN at a virtual meeting on December 12, 2021. Photo by Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs
The G7 countries stated their support for ASEAN’s central role, emphasized the importance of relations with the association, and promised to actively contribute to ASEAN-led mechanisms.
A majority expressed the willingness to strengthen cooperation in accordance with the frameworks mentioned in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.
Vietnamese minister Bui Thanh Son called on the G7 to support ASEAN’s efforts to ensure the South China Sea, which Vietnam calls the East Sea, is an area of peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity.
He also sought its support for the common view among ASEAN and China that countries need to fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties.
The G7 countries promised to further provide safe and affordable vaccines to the ASEAN members, transfer vaccine production technology, support capacity building in public health, and strengthen pandemic early warning capabilities.
The two sides agreed to promote a comprehensive and sustainable recovery, focusing on market opening, consolidating and stabilizing regional supply chains, investing in new technologies and innovations to create a new impetus for recovery and growth, developing the digital and green economies, and effectively respond to climate change.
To implement the commitments made at the recent COP 26 in the U.K., Son said the G7 should take the lead in reducing emissions, strengthening cooperation with Vietnam and other ASEAN countries to fulfill net zero-emission commitments through green financial investment and clean technologies.
The G7, the club of wealthy western nations, comprises Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.
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