Asia-Pacific ministers vow to end regional rows

Asia
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo smiles as he stands between Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai during a family photo at the East Asia Summit meeting in Bangkok on Friday. (Reuters photo)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo smiles as he stands between Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai during a family photo at the East Asia Summit meeting in Bangkok on Friday. (Reuters photo)

Foreign ministers of Asia-Pacific countries have affirmed they were committed to resolving conflicts in the South China Sea, Myanmar’s Rakhine state, and the Korean Peninsula, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Arthayudh Srisamoot, deputy permanent secretary for foreign affairs, told the press after the 9th East Asia Summit (EAS) that foreign ministers had acknowledged the early completion of the Single Draft Negotiating Text of the Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea, and hoped to see resolutions to the maritime disputes within three years.

“The CoC will be in line with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea [Unclos] that endorses freedom of navigation and overflight. Asean and China reiterate that the CoC abides by and aligns with existing international law,” he told journalists.

Mr Arthayuth said foreign experts had also expressed concern over Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh to escape persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in 2017.

“According to the assessment of the refugees’ needs, our priority is to return normalcy to the situation and prevent armed conflict in the region [Myanmar]. To build long-term foundations, we agreed to provide humanitarian assistance to people in the area.

“Meanwhile, Bangladesh is seeking support from the international community for sustainable solutions to the [Rohingya] repatriation process,” he said.

Mr Arthayudh said that foreign ministers had also discussed the security crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

“They were concerned the recent [North Korean] missile tests may have a negative impact on the ongoing peace dialogue. Efforts have been made by the US and North Korea, the DPRK, to come up with solutions by building long-lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Mr Arthayudh said.

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, who chaired the Asean Regional Forum, said members supported calls for the resumption of stalled denuclearisation talks between the United States and North Korea.

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