ASEAN-EU dialogue affirms joint respect for rule of law, peaceful resolution of disputes

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The traditional family picture of ASEAN-EU Summit 2017. Photograph from RUSELL PALMA/ASEAN POOL

MANILA, Philippines – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) underscored in a joint statement Tuesday the importance of “respect for the rule of law, sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, maritime security and safety, freedom of navigation and overflight, and peaceful resolution of disputes.”

The two regional blocs issued the statement following a dialogue of their respective leaders on the sidelines of the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila. ASEAN and EU are commemorating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of their dialogue relations.

Below is the statement:

We recognize the positive contributions that ASEAN and the EU, as two of the world’s most advanced and successful regional organizations, have made to peace, security, stability, inclusive growth and sustainable development of Southeast Asia, Europe and the world, as well as in addressing global challenges and reinforcing regionalism and multilateralism.

We emphasise the importance of the shared values and common interests that bind the two regions in a long-standing and unique relationship as “partners in integration,” such as the principles of mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality and territorial integrity for all states, and including other principles of the United Nations (UN) Charter, international law and the Treaty of Amity and
Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), to which the EU acceded in 2012.

We underline the importance of the respect of the rule of law, sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, maritime security and safety, freedom of navigation and overflight, and peaceful resolution of disputes, in accordance with the universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the relevant standards and recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

We intend to accelerate efforts towards a Strategic Partnership between the EU and ASEAN by strengthening all areas of dialogue and cooperation. We welcome the recent adoption of the new ASEAN-EU Plan of Action 2018-2022 and the Joint Statement on the Paris Agreement: Reaffirming Commitment to Cooperation to Address the Shared Challenge of Climate Change. We also welcome the participation of the President of the European Council as Guest of the East Asia Summit (EAS) Chair for the first time.

The EU reiterates its support for ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture in East Asia and its appreciation for ASEAN’s role as the driving force for, and its important contribution to, promoting dialogue, moderation and cooperation for peace, security, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. ASEAN welcomes the interest of the EU in furthering engagement with the region through all ASEAN-led processes. The EU reiterates its support for the ASEAN Community Vision 2025: Forging Ahead Together towards a rules-based, people-oriented, people-centred Community.

We reaffirm the importance of enhancing the strategic connectivity and the economic partnership between ASEAN and the EU with the aim to increasing trade and investment between the two regions based on transparency, openness and sustainability, for the benefit of the people and reaffirm their commitment to concluding an ambitious and forward-looking ASEAN-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement that reflects ASEAN’s and the EU’s shared vision and aspirations and to intensify work towards the resumption of the ASEAN-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations, noting the status of the bilateral FTAs between several ASEAN Member States and the EU.

We reaffirm the commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as ending all forms of poverty.

We value EU-ASEAN development cooperation across the three pillars of the ASEAN Community, with the EU doubling its financial support for this purpose. This includes current programmes such as the Enhanced-Regional EU ASEAN Dialogue Instrument Human Rights Facility (E-READI HRF), the ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the EU-Plus (ARISE-Plus), the EU Support to Higher Education in ASEAN Region (EU-SHARE), the Sustainable Use of Peatland and Haze Mitigation in ASEAN (SUPA) and the Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN (BCAMP).

We reaffirm the importance of people-to-people contacts and linkages involving, among others, youth, media, academics, think-tank institutions, parliamentary bodies and civil societies; promote cooperation on education as well as encourage mobility of students and academics between ASEAN and the EU higher education institutions; and enhance cooperation in science, technology and innovation.

We reaffirm our support to one another’s regional integration and community-building efforts. We resolve to work together to reinforce an inclusive and rules-based international order and to support the effective functioning of regional and multilateral institutions.