The importance of ensuring peace and stability in the East Sea and the principle of settling disputes peacefully were emphasized by delegates at the ASEAN-EU Summit that opened in Milan, Italy, on Thursday.
The event was co-chaired by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, theVnExpress Agency reported.
The two sides agreed that all parties in the East Sea should abide by international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), resolve disputes through peaceful measures, and comply with the principle of non-use of force or threat to use force.
In addition, all parties must fully and seriously implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and work towards the early formation of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), delegates said.
Besides the East Sea, they discussed other regional and international issues of mutual concern, including the Middle East and North African issues and the fight against terrorism.
The two sides also reviewed their bilateral cooperation and presented a vision to further promote ASEAN-EU dialogue relations in the future.
Regarding economic cooperation, the summit’s delegates agreed to increase the two sides’ transport links via land, air and sea, and resume negotiations for a post-2015 free trade agreement between the two sides next year.
The EU pledged to continue to share its expertise with and support ASEAN in the bloc’s priority areas, such as narrowing the development gap and improving the capacity of management apparatus.
As regards trade ties, the two-way trade between ASEAN and the EU reached US$242.6 billion last year, making up 9.8 percent of ASEAN’s total trade.
In terms of investment, the EU is now one of the biggest foreign investors in ASEAN, with a registered capital of $23.3 billion, accounting for 22 percent of the total foreign direct investment of ASEAN.