The agreement was reached during an online senior officials meeting (SOM) of ASEAN plus China, Japan and the RoK taking place on June 8. Ambassador Vu Ho, acting head of ASEAN SOM Vietnam attended the meeting.
The officials reviewed the achievements that ASEAN+3 have recorded over the past 25 years, making positive contributions to regional integration and cooperation in East Asia.
They welcomed the positive progress in the five-year implementation of the ASEAN+3 Cooperation Work Programme for 2018-2022 with nearly 600 projects and cooperation activities undertaken in the fields of politics-security, economy-trade, culture-society and development cooperation. They consented to soon complete the ASEAN+3 cooperation plan for 2023-2027.
The officials agreed that ASEAN + 3 would continue focusing their efforts on prioritizing COVID-19 response and control. They vowed to make full use of free trade agreements (FTAs) between ASEAN and China, Japan, the RoK, as well as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, while supporting efforts to promote recovery and steady growth in the region.
Representatives of several participating countries proposed that ASEAN+3 countries should soon open their doors, creating favorable conditions for the resumption of economic-trade-investment activities, people-to-people exchanges and tourism in the region.
China proposed organizing a number of cooperation activities on food security, energy, industrial cooperation and supply chain. Japan said it would step up cooperation in digital transformation, gradually relax border control measures and open the door to visitors starting from June 2022. The RoK placed emphasis on cooperation in digital transformation towards green economic development.
The officials shared views on international and regional issues of common concern, noting that ASEAN+3, along with other cooperation mechanisms in the region, should continue to play an important role in promoting peace, security, stability, prosperity and development in the region, including the South China Sea known as the East Sea in Vietnam.
Vietnamese Ambassador Vu Ho emphasized the importance of strengthening dialogue, cooperation and trust-building, upholding international law, strengthening cooperation for mutual benefits, equality and mutual respect, and ensuring a peaceful, secure and stable environment, including efforts to build seas of peace, cooperation and development in the region, while facilitating recovery efforts, growth and sustainable development.
ASEAN + 3 officials voiced their support for Vietnam to host the 20th East Asia Forum later this year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the ASEAN+3 mechanism (1997-2022).