Vietnam’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son has recommended four measures for beefing up the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) to promote growth and sustainable development from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister Son was speaking at the seventh MLC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Bagan, Myanmar on Monday, centered around ‘Solidarity for Peace and Prosperity.’
The event was attended by foreign ministers from the six member countries of the MLC mechanism, including China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Participants highly appreciated the MLC’s recent contributions to regional cooperation and development, especially amid the complicated developments of COVID-19, and discussed coordination in organizing the second MLC Ministerial Meeting on Water Resources in Vietnam this year.
In this context, the Vietnamese diplomat delivered a speech proposing four major measures to make the MLC more effective.
He firstly mentioned the need for cooperation in boosting economic recovery and resilience from the pandemic, and strengthening customs cooperation and trade facilitation in order to solve goods congestion and ensure the free flow of goods and services in the region.
Second, it is necessary for mutual support among member countries in climate change adaptation and the transition to a green economic model, including clean energy development and climate-smart agriculture.
He also called for stronger cooperation in managing and using water resources in a sustainable manner, strengthening consultation and dialogue on water resource development plans, increasing the sharing of hydrological and meteorological data and hydroelectric dam operations, and expanding coordination between the MLC and the Mekong River Commission.
|Vietnam’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son (L) bumps elbows with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at the seventh Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Myanmar, July 4, 2022. Photo: Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs|
Lastly, it is advisable to promote people-to-people connections through tourism activities and cultural exchange programs, Son said.
His speech was highly appreciated by the other member countries and was reflected in the conference’s documents, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.
The event came as two-way trade between the lower Mekong River countries and China reached nearly US$400 billion last year, up 23 percent from 2020, while many large infrastructure works have been completed and hundreds of technical assistance projects are being built by the MLC member nations, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
The meeting emphasized the principles of equal cooperation, mutual consultation, benefit-sharing and respect for the United Nations Charter and international law, as well as the legislation of each country.
It came to an end with the issuance of four joint statements on strengthening agricultural cooperation, disaster prevention, customs and trade facilitation, and exchanges between MLC civilizations.
Founded in 2016, the MLC is a multilateral cooperation mechanism between the riparian states of the Lancang River and Mekong River.
The Lancang River originates from Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in southwestern China.
It is called the Mekong River as it flows through the other five countries – Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam – before entering the sea.
UN leader Antonio Guterres to visit Vietnam this year
United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres confirmed he would visit Vietnam this year during a meeting with Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ha Kim Ngoc in New York on Wednesday (U.S. time).
At the meeting, held on the sidelines of the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Ngoc reiterated President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s invitation to the UN secretary-general to visit Vietnam.
Guterres replied that he would make every effort to arrange a visit to the Southeast Asian country at an appropriate time this year.
The visit, when realized, will be a meaningful event given that 2022 marks 45 years since Vietnam’s accession to the UN.
Secretary General Guterres praised Vietnam’s active and responsible contributions to the UN’s common work and also expressed his special feelings for the nation.
The UN head mentioned Vietnam’s strong commitments in responding to climate change and promised to continue supporting the nation in this area.
He also expressed his positive impression of Vietnam’s socio-economic achievements, especially in the post-pandemic recovery process.
The last time a UN secretary general visited Vietnam was in May 2015, when Ban Ki Moon from South Korea paid a two-day visit to the country.
Guterres, the ninth secretary general in the UN’s history, is currently in his second five-year term, following the first that began on January 1, 2017.
Vietnam joined the UN on September 20, 1977. The agency’s support for Vietnam first focused on war reconstruction and humanitarian assistance, and then on strengthening institutions, policies, social protection, health, education, and agriculture, among others.
During the past 45 years, Vietnam has achieved many milestones within the UN, including serving twice as a non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2008-09 and 2020-21.
Vietnam has also contributed to UN peacekeeping operations in 29 missions to South Sudan and the Central African Republic since 2014, according to the website of the UN Office in Vietnam.
The country deployed its first level-2 field hospital to the UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan with 63 members in 2018.
Vietnam’s airlines asked to avoid Chinese military drill areas near Taiwan
Vietnamese airlines have been directed to adjust flight routes in order to avoid six areas near Taiwan where military exercises are being conducted by China amid tensions sparked by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island, Vietnam’s central aviation agency said on Wednesday.
The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) released the direction after China announced its military would launch live-fire drills in six maritime areas surrounding Taiwan and their respective airspace from Thursday to Sunday and asked sea vessels and planes from other countries to avoid these zones.
Accordingly, Vietnamese carriers will adjust their flight routes to ensure their planes do not fly over or near the six drill areas labeled on a map released by China, CAAV general director Dinh Viet Thang told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
Thang also noted that Vietnamese airlines will seek out reserve airports far from these areas.
Such adjustments will increase flight distances, times, and expenses – a hefty burden given the already soaring coasts of Jet A1 flight fuel, according to CAAV.
The agency also stated that these drills will impact routes from Vietnam to the U.S., which are regularly operated by national carrier Vietnam Airlines, as well as flights to Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea.
Specifically, around 60 flights, including 36 by Vietnam Airlines, 22 by Vietjet Air, and several by Bamboo Airways, will be affected, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
Thang said CAAV will support the carriers if they face difficulty in altering flight routes through the airspace of relevant countries.
However, if there are adverse circumstances related to route adjustments, or if any significant impact arises from the exercises, airlines can proactively delay or cancel relevant flights to ensure safety, provided they notify customers in advance, Thang directed.
On August 2, China’s Xinhua News Agency released a notice that “the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will conduct important military exercises and training activities including live-fire drills” in six maritime areas specified in an attached map.
For safety reasons, vessels and aircraft are prohibited from entering the waters and airspace intended for the drills.
These exercises were announced soon after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taipei on Tuesday evening for a visit to Taiwan, despite previous warnings against the trip from mainland China.
Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is “a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China – U.S. joint communiqués,” Xinhua cited the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement on Tuesday.
In response, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby underlined at a press briefing at the White House that Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan did not change Washington’s stance on the ‘one-China’ policy, which recognizes Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan as part of China.
Kirby also insisted that the visit was within Pelosi’s rights and did not infringe China’s sovereignty, according to Reuters.
Regarding increased tension following Pelosi’s visit, Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday called for the relevant parties to exercise restraint and not to escalate tension in the Taiwan Strait area.
Pelosi left Taiwan the same day.
Vietnam calls for restraint amid US House Speaker’s Taiwan visit
Vietnam adheres to the ‘one-China’ policy and hopes the relevant parties to exercise restraint and not to escalate tension in the Taiwan Strait area, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday.
The foreign ministry’s spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang was speaking at a press briefing in Hanoi in response to reporters’ questions about the current situation of the Taiwan Strait.
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, had landed in Taiwan for a visit on Tuesday.
Reiterating that Vietnam continues to follow the ‘one China’ policy, Hang requested all relevant parties to contain themselves and contribute to maintaining peace and stability in the region and the world.
‘One-China’ means “there is but one China in the world,” stated the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam.
Taiwan is an inseparable part of China’s territory and the government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legal government representing the entirety of China, the embassy stressed.
Tension in the Taiwan Strait has been heightened after U.S. House Speaker Pelosi’s plane touched down in Taipei on Tuesday evening, despite previous warnings from mainland China.
Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is “a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China – U.S. joint communiqués,” China’s Xinhua News Agency cited the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement on Tuesday.
Around 15 minutes after Pelosi arrived at Songshan Airport in Taipei, Xinhua News Agency reported that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army would conduct drills in six areas surrounding Taiwan from August 4 to 8.
Meanwhile, China’s Eastern Theater Command announced that military operations began on Tuesday evening with the participation of J-20 stealth fighters.
A video aired later on the China Central Television showed the fighters taking off in the dark with missiles under their wings.
On late Tuesday night, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng summoned U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns to protest over Pelosi’s Taiwan visit and asked Washington to “immediately address its wrongdoings.”
In a press conference held later at the White House, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby underlined that Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan did not change Washington’s stance on the ‘one-China’ policy, which recognizes Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan as part of China.
The visit was within Pelosi’s rights and did not violate China’s sovereignty, Reuters cited Kirby as saying.
The U.S. acknowledged the ‘one-China’ policy and established official diplomatic relations with mainland China in 1979.
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