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Nov 10, 2020 / 11:51

37th ASEAN Summit: Opportunity to shape new future

Strong commitment to better partnership between ASEAN and its partners will be the focus of the last summit this year.

A Vietnamese senior diplomat has said the upcoming 37th ASEAN Summit would focus on evaluating the bloc’s internal and external affairs and future oritentations.

 Leaders of ASEAN member states at the 35th ASEAN Summit in Thailand in 2019. Photo: Thong Nhat

The event will include the 37th ASEAN Summit, with the participation of top ASEAN leaders, and 20 related summits showing the 10-member bloc’s strong commitment to partnership between ASEAN and its partners, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of the ASEAN SOM of Vietnam, said at a press conference on Monday.

Indeed, the summits, set to take place in Hanoi on November 12-15, will include a series of virtual meetings: 23rd ASEAN-China Summit, 23rd ASEAN-Japan Summit, 21st ASEAN-ROK Summit, 17th ASEAN-India Summit, ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) 2020, 2nd Mekong-ROK Summit, 12th Mekong-Japan Summit, 8th ASEAN-US Summit, ASEAN-New Zealand Leaders’ Summit, and Second ASEAN-Australia Biennial Summit.

In addition, they include 23rd ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit, 15th East Asia Summit (EAS), 11th ASEAN-UN Summit, ASEAN Women Leaders’ Summit, and 4th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will preside over the 37th ASEAN Summit, host the 12th Mekong-Japan Summit and the 2nd Mekong-Korea Summit.

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam and State President Nguyen Phu Trong is expected to attend and deliver a welcoming speech. 

Strong partnership

Mr. Nguyen Quoc Dung said the new wave of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact the economic recovery while uncertainties in the regional and global major power competition together with traditional and non-traditional security issues are posing threats to regional stability.

“The summit is believed to be an opportunity for ASEAN leaders to show their strong commitment to maintaining cooperation and response to the Covid-19 pandemic and reinforcing the ASEAN Centrality in the face of a complicated and unpredictable situation globally,” Mr. Dung said.

The 37th ASEAN Summit, the last summit under the Vietnam Chair, is expected to witness the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region between the ten ASEAN member states namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, and five of their partners: Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.

Mr. Dung said the negotiations for the signing have completed and the negotiating parties are finalizing internal procedures for the signing. If the internal procedures of all countries are completed in time, the signing will take place on November 15.

Regarding external policies with the US in the context of the country’s recent presidential election, Mr. Nguyen Quoc Dung said ASEAN always welcomes the US to play an important role in the region, to make responsible and constructive contributions, to shape the rules-based regional order, as well as contribute to maintaining peace, stability and development in the region. He added that the four-decade ASEAN-US relationship has a steady foundation for the development in the future.

“We believe that any US president will support this trend in the ASEAN-US relations over the past years and ASEAN’s expectation to push up the strategic partnership for the common interests that not only benefits ASEAN but the US,” the Vietnamese diplomat said.

In terms of common response to the pandemic, the ASEAN Covid-19 Response Fund has received a donation of US$10 million from ASEAN member states and partners. The ASEAN Center for Emerging Diseases Response will also be announced on this occasion.