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Vietnamese president stresses ‘respect for sovereignty’ at Asian-African Conference in Indonesia

Thursday, April 23, 2015, 11:40 GMT+7
Vietnamese president stresses ‘respect for sovereignty’ at Asian-African Conference in Indonesia
Vietnamese State President Truong Tan Sang speaks at the 2015 Asian-African Conference in Jakarta, Indonesia on April 22, 2015.

Vietnamese State President Truong Tan Sang has called on every country to show “respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations,” while attending the Asian-African Conference in Indonesia.

>> Vietnam president attending Asian-African Conference dedicated to peace, prosperity President Sang made the call while leading a Vietnamese delegation to take part in the 2015 Asian-African Conference (AAC), which has “Strengthening South-South Cooperation to Promote World Peace and Prosperity” as its theme. The conference opened in Jakarta on Wednesday. The Vietnamese leader’s participation in the three-day event, also known as the Bandung Conference, was made at the invitation of Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Opening the conference, the Indonesian president emphasized the importance of the conference’s theme and the necessity to strengthen Asia-Africa relations in the new context. In his speech delivered during the first plenary session, President Sang affirmed that as one of the 29 countries attending the first AAC held in Bandung in 1955, Vietnam strongly supports the theme of the 2015 conference and calls on the two continents to promote cooperation to ensure a peaceful and secure environment – a prerequisite for sustainable development. The Vietnamese leader urged every country to comply with the 10 Bandung principles, including “respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations,” “refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country,” and “settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, such as negotiation, conciliation, arbitration or judicial settlement as well as other peaceful means of the parties' own choice, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.”  The first AAC in Bandung created strong inspirations for the people of many Asian and African countries to stand up and struggle for their national independence, and they have since developed in every aspect to contribute to the increasingly growing roles of Asia and Africa on the international arena. In that spirit, Vietnam’s message to the 2015 AAC is “to strengthen the Asian-African connection for the world’s peace and prosperity based on respect for international law,” President Sang said.   He added that many Asian and African countries are facing many difficulties and challenges, including terrorism, armed conflicts, unrest, sovereignty disputes, threat to use force, poverty, epidemics, climate change, energy, food and water source security, and inequality of the global economic, financial, and trading systems. Vietnam’s head of state suggested that priorities be given to boost Asia-Africa cooperation based on common rules and norms, and to adopt South-South initiatives in trade, investment, agriculture, telecommunication, labor, health, and education at regional, sub-regional, and bilateral levels. He also underlined the need of promoting air and sea connections to make the Indian Ocean and the Pacific secure, peaceful, and stable environments.  President Sang told the conference that Vietnam and the other Southeast Asian countries are taking steps to complete the building of the ASEAN Economic Community by the end of this year. He added that ASEAN countries are making efforts to maintain peace, security, and freedom of navigation in the East Vietnam Sea, a vital route that links ASEAN to the countries in other regions, including Africa.  It is Vietnam’s policy to settle any dispute with peaceful measures based on international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the strict and full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Vietnam Sea (DOC) toward the finalization of a Code of Conduct for the sea (COC), President Sang said. At the global level, Vietnam is keen on taking part in planning common policies for developing countries and contributing to the promotion of the common voice of these countries, the Vietnamese leader said. He added that Vietnam has joined the UN’s peacekeeping activities in South Sudan and the Republic of Central Africa, and will further engage in such activities, especially in Africa, in the future. The ongoing AAC gathers 91 delegations from 91 countries in Asia and Africa, 17 observer countries, and 25 international organizations. Of these attendees, 23 are heads of state and prime ministers, seven vice presidents, six deputy prime ministers, and more than 30 ministers. Yesterday, besides attending the AAC plenary sessions, the Vietnamese delegation also joined the 60th anniversary celebration of the Asian-African Conference and the 10th anniversary of the New Strategic Asian-African Partnership. President Sang also had bilateral meetings with other countries’ leaders on the sidelines, focusing on promoting cooperation and friendship between Vietnam and those nations.

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