Phnom Penh, 5 August 2022 (TDI): The Foreign Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) released their annual joint communique.

It contained an annual status update of ten member states. The communique significantly laid out its official position on regional and global import issues.

The communique is made up of regional institutional boilerplate about connectivity, social and cultural exchanges, and economic initiatives of various kinds.

It significantly laid out the bloc’s consensus on regional and International issues. It further included the crisis in Myanmar and two major international flashpoints; the South China Sea disputes and the Russia-Ukraine war.

Regional security

Member states reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining and promoting the region’s peace, security, and stability. They further highlighted the peaceful resolution of disputes, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes.

States also reiterated the importance of non-proliferation and disarmament in the region. The communique also included the issues of maritime cooperation and Non-traditional security threats.

Covid-19 Pandemic

On the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministers remained concerned with the continued human cost and suffering. It also touched upon the profound socio-economic impact of the pandemic. Moreover, it called upon states for their collective efforts to respond and recover swiftly from the pandemic.

“We welcome contributions and support from external partners to the region’s recovery efforts, including through the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund”.

Economic Cooperation

On the economic front, states reiterated their commitment to keeping the bloc’s markets open for trade and investment and enhancing transparency. They further decided to refrain from imposing unnecessary non-tariff measures. This will significantly ensure supply chain connectivity, particularly for food, medicines, medical supplies, and other essential products.

Over Ukraine Conflict

Most Southeast Asian nations have chosen to remain neutral in the Russia-Ukraine war. No state except Singapore has opted to join the international sanctions campaign against Moscow.

The foreign ministers reaffirmed their respect for sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity. They also reiterated their compliance with international law and the United Nations Charter.

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