Sep 09, 2020 / 13:25

Efforts should be invested to control Covid-19 in ASEAN: Vietnam PM

Cohesive and responsive is not merely the theme of ASEAN 2020. Cohesive and responsive, along with proactive and responsible, have become a "brand" of ASEAN

ASEAN nations should invest in efforts to control Covid-19 and promote sustained recovery, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at the Opening Ceremony of the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-53) and Related Meetings on September 9.

 Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc addresses the Opening Ceremony of the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-53) and Related Meetings on September 9. Photo: Quang Hieu/VGP

PM Phuc proposed that the Covid-19 Response Fund should be well utilized and the Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies should be operationalised so as to raise ASEAN’s response capacity. 

“We need to promptly help our people and businesses restore production and return their life to normal in order to speed up economic recovery. Efforts should also be made to facilitate trade and investment, fix the disrupted supply chain, enhance connectivity and provide mutual support to bridge the development gaps between the subregions in ASEAN, including the Mekong,”the PM stressed. 

In addition, PM Phuc called on ASEAN countries to continue upholding the bloc’s solidarity and unity in order to successfully realize the Blueprints for the ASEAN Community Vision 2025. 

He also urged regional countries to capitalize on ASEAN centrality in advancing dialogue, cooperation and confidence building in the region. 

“On that basis, we shall formulate and share norms of conduct, uphold the rule of law, mutual trust, mutual respect and equality in the relations between and among countries in the region, settle peacefully all disputes and differences on the basis of international law, including UNCLOS 1982 and ASEAN’s instruments on norms of conducts in the region, including  TAC and DOC, AOI, etc,” PM Phuc noted. 

Increasingly important role of ASEAN

PM Phuc said 2020 is a year full of significant events. This year, ASEAN has entered its sixth decade, and celebrates the fifth year of the ASEAN Community. ASEAN has grown strong to become the world’s fifth largest economy, a key actor that holds centrality in advancing dialogue and cooperation for peace, security and prosperity of the region. These valuable fruits of our cooperation are being tested in an environment full of volatilities and unprecedented challenges, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic.     

Cohesive and responsive is not merely the theme of ASEAN 2020. Cohesive and responsive, along with proactive and responsible, have become a "brand" of ASEAN, which enabled us to stand hand-in-hand in the face of immense challenges and keep forging ahead. 

Such a "brand" has emerged prominent in the past 8 months, and is evident through the highest-level commitments by the ASEAN Leaders at the ASEAN and ASEAN+3 Special Summits in April and the 36th ASEAN Summit in June, respectively. The spirit also guides the efforts of the Community pillars to expand cooperation and linkages while realising the dual tasks of advancing growth and containing the pandemic.

The PM praised the ASEAN sectoral bodies for initiatives to help businesses and people restore production and return their life to normal. The initiatives, including the Covid-19 Response Fund, the Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies, the Standard Operating Procedures, and an ASEAN comprehensive recovery plan have not only assisted in the pandemic joint response but also strengthened the bonds between and among ASEAN member states. 

ASEAN has managed to raise its international profile. On his capacity as the ASEAN Chair 2020, PM Phuc was invited to the G-20 virtual summit, NAM meeting, World Health Assembly on Covid-19 response, where he delivered the strong message of ASEAN, wishing to stand side by side the international community in responding to this global challenge. 

Highlighting the complex regional geo-political and geo-economic landscape, including the South China Sea, are witnessing growing volatilities that are detrimental to peace and stability. 

In such a complex landscape today, ASEAN needs to continue upholding its solidarity and adhering to its more-than-five-decade path and ASEAN way, in line with the spirit of the Foreign Ministers Statement on the importance of maintaining peace and stability in Southeast Asia on 8 August. 

“Let us capitalize on the ASEAN values and identity, which bind our peoples together in a caring and sharing community, just like the sheaf of yellow paddy stalks on our ASEAN flag or the ASEAN song, which we should promote to become popular icons and pride of the 650 million ASEAN people,”said PM Phuc.