The foreign ministers of ASEAN and Russia have issued a joint statement, emphasising the importance of adhering to international law and the principles of the UN Charter.

These principles include self-determination, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the renunciation of force or threats of force.

This statement was released on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the ASEAN-Russia strategic partnership held in Jakarta, Indonesia, on July 13.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and Cambodian minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Prak Sokhonn, were present at the summit.

The statement recalled a series of past agreements that form the bedrock of the strategic partnership between ASEAN and Russia, contributing to regional peace, stability, and sustainable development.

These agreements included the Joint Declaration adopted in 2005, the Joint Statement from the 3rd ASEAN-Russian Federation Summit in 2018, and the Joint Statement of the 4th ASEAN-Russia Summit in 2021.

The foreign ministers agreed to enhance their cooperative relationship at the United Nations and its specialised agencies, with the aim of upholding universally recognised principles of international law and the UN Charter.

“We ensured maritime security and safety, freedom of navigation and flyover, and unimpeded commerce. We promoted self-restraint, non-use of force or the threat to use force, and the resolution of disputes through peaceful means in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law,” the statement read.

The ministers reaffirmed the importance of principles outlined in several key documents, including the Charter of the United Nations, the ASEAN Charter, and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, to promote peace, stability, prosperity, and cooperation in the region.

The statement also recognised ASEAN’s centrality and unity in the evolving regional architecture of the Asia-Pacific.

In the statement, the ministers underscored the importance of the areas of cooperation highlighted in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, aimed at guiding ASEAN cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.

They also reviewed the achievements of the ASEAN-Russia strategic partnership over the past five years and acknowledged the significant contributions of the relationship to ASEAN integration and community building.

However, Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, voiced concerns to The Post on July 13.

He pointed out that the joint statement’s emphasis on international law seemed contradictory in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which he argued violated international law, the UN Charter, and Ukraine’s sovereignty.

“Therefore, this joint statement seems contrary to the facts at this point. I can only say this and I am not aware how the leaders of ASEAN view this point from the statement,” he added.