As an ASEAN member, Vietnam will join efforts with other ASEAN nations to help maintain peace and stability in the region, said spokesperson Luong Thanh Nghi at the Foreign Ministry's regular press briefing in Hanoi on July 5.
Regarding Vietnam's stance on disputes in the East Sea within the framework of the upcoming ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Cambodia, Nghi affirmed that peace, stability, maritime security and safety in the East Sea is an issue of common concern to ASEAN as well as other countries in the region and the world.
ASEAN's common stance is to deal with disputes in the East Sea based on respecting international laws, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and in the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).
In response to media questions about the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) recognising Vietnam's market economy status and kick starting negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Southeast Asian economy, Nghi said the EFTA's recognition, including Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, is a step forward in trade relations and a possible FTA between Vietnam and the EFTA in the future. It will serve as a foundation for expanding multifaceted cooperation between the two sides as equal partners.
Recognition by the EFTA once again shows the international community's positive support for Vietnam's renewal (Doi Moi) process, as well as its socialist-oriented market economy and active international integration, Nghi added.
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