The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) should be at the forefront of promoting law-based multilateral cooperation and international order as well as responding to global challenges, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said.
The government leader was addressing the second plenary session of the 12th ASEM Summit (ASEM 12) in Brussels, Belgium on Friday.
He suggested that Asia and Europe should work more closely together to deal with traditional and non-traditional challenges, maintaining peace, promoting dialogues and building trust as well as preventive diplomacy in line with international laws and common norms.
ASEM should work for more balanced economic-financial governance and make the multilateral trade system more open, transparent and inclusive while enhancing the role of the World Trade Organization in the new context, he said.
He also proposed that ASEM should lead in realizing commitments in climate change and natural disaster mitigation, sustainable management of natural resources, and food and energy security.
It is necessary to speed up the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, PM Phuc said, adding that developed members of ASEM should support developing ones in accessing financial resources, technology and investment in clean energy, which enables green growth.
ASEM should exert more efforts in reducing plastic waste, a serious threat to the maritime ecosystem and oceans’ health, he underscored.
The PM also stressed the need to promote inclusive socio-economic cooperation, while focusing more on sustainable eradication of poverty, high quality education and human resources development in the digital era.
It is necessary to connect innovative centers and female entrepreneurs of the two continents, promoting people-to-people exchanges, he added.
Vietnam pledges increased contributions
Vietnam will increase its financial contributions to the Asia-Europe Fund from 2019, PM Phuc stated, adding SEM should share experience in inspiring innovation while assisting vulnerable groups in the society, especially women and girls, in accessing digital technology, adapting to changes and responding to risks.
Enhancing women’s economic power should be an inherent subject of any national development strategies, thus fulfilling the United Nations sustainable development goals, he stressed.
PM Phuc declared in Brussels that Vietnam is striving to approve the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), ink a free trade agreement with the EU, and complete negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in late 2018.
Vietnam is prepared to take over chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2020, he said, expressing his hope to receive support from ASEM members in running for a non-permanent member seat at the UN Security Council in the 2020-2021 tenure.
Affirming Vietnam’s interest in ASEM cooperation, the PM proposed to host the ASEM Conference in promoting inclusive socio-economic growth in Asia and Europe and another on strengthening digital economy amidst the Fourth Industrial Revolution in 2019.