HUA HIN, Aug 15 – ASEAN foreign ministers have agreed that relationship between member countries of the Southeast Asian region and China will play a major role in maintaining peace and stability in Asia, a senior Thai Foreign Ministry official said.
Sihasak Phuangketkeow, permanent secretary for foreign affairs, said the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ (AMM) Retreat, hosted by Thailand in the southern resort town on Aug 13-14, zeroed in on unity among ASEAN members and agreed that the door should be widely open to China with the hope for a code of conduct to avoid conflict in the South China Sea.
The AMM Retreat was to prepare for the upcoming special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting to be hosted by China in Beijing during August 28-30 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership.
Mr Sihasak said ASEAN countries will set up an ASEAN Coordinating Committee after the launch of ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 to jointly map out guiding principles to strengthen the community and elevate the AEC’s role in international fora.
Member countries also agreed that the region should be developed under the ASEAN Development Goal with the objectives of improving the people’s quality of life, minimising poverty among ASEAN citizens and developing overall health standards, he said.