KUALA LUMPUR: The foreign ministers of Asean countries reiterated their stance on maintaining the South China Sea as a sea of peace and cooperation at the Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings between Asean and its partners on Thursday in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

To this end, Asean calls for restraint from all parties not to complicate the situation in the South China Sea and urges efforts to handle disputes in line with international laws and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) 1982.

Regarding the concerns of country partners about the situation in Myanmar, Asean countries said that there have been in-depth discussions on this issue, reported Vietnam News Agency.

The countries declared they will continue to engage with Myanmar in the spirit of Asean, and make efforts to implement the Asean leaders' Five-Point Consensus towards working with Myanmar to arrive at solutions to the current crisis.

In the Asean+1 and Asean+3 meetings, orientations were set out to promote cooperation through the central role that Asean plays in regional relationships.

Accordingly, the parties agreed to amplify cooperation towards a comprehensive and sustainable recovery post-Covid-19 pandemic. Asean expects its Northeast Asian partners to cooperate extensively in areas such as public health, digital transformation, innovative technology, smart infrastructure, human resource quality, and green and sustainable development.

The countries wish to strengthen cooperation in other areas, such as climate change response, environmental protection, biodiversity conservation, and the sustainable use of oceans and marine resources.

Discussing the international and regional situation, the parties expressed concern about the ongoing complexities and tensions in the region.

All countries believe that it is necessary to exercise utmost restraint and avoid actions that may complicate the situation and adversely affect the peace and stability of the region.

In addition,Asean also emphasised the importance of dialogue in handling the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, especially in the context of the recent ballistic missile tests in this area.

Other countries also mentioned the issue of Japanese citizens being kidnapped in this area.

Vietnamese Foreign minister Bui Thanh Son emphasised the importance of frank, sincere dialogue and quality-oriented cooperation in regional collaboration mechanisms.

The Vietnamese diplomat said that Asean mechanisms are working and make effective contributions to enhancing regional trust and cooperation.

Son stated that besides economic and trade priorities, countries need to uphold their responsibilities and participate in the furthering of integration and connectivity processes in the region, especially in narrowing the development gaps and promoting sub-regional cooperation.-Bernama