Speaking at the opening ceremony, Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai affirmed the importance of ARF in promoting dialogues and political-security cooperation in the region. Addressing the event, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh spoke highly of ARF’s role and value in enhancing dialogues and cooperation in political-security issues of shared concern, and coping with regional challenges. To intensify the adaptability to the rapidly changing security environment, Mr. Minh suggested building a new development vision for the ARF in tandem with revamping the forum’s operation methods, considering this a major target in 2020. Mr. Minh expressed his views on the significance of peace, stability and law respect in the region and the world.
He applauded the recent progress on the Korean Peninsula saying he hopes the sides will maintain the progress momentum and continue dialogues in order to iron out their differences. Regarding the East Sea issue, Mr. Minh acknowledged progress in the negotiations of the COC. He, however, also held that there are still grave concerns over developments in the area, including unilateral moves and serious incidents going on in the East Sea, particularly actions that have seriously violated sovereign right and jurisdiction of littoral countries.
Minh proposed the concerned countries uphold the respect of international law, including rights and interests of costal states in line with the UNCLOS 1982, fully and effectively observe the DOC, and maintain a favourable environment for negotiations in order to reach an effective and practical code.