ASEAN vows to build regional community despite COVID-19

VOV.VN - ASEAN senior officials vowed on July 16 to foster greater intra-regional co-operation to weather the COVID-19 crisis and realise the goal of building a stronger, united, and self-resilient community as agreed upon by their leaders.

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Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung chairs the meeting
Successfully building a closer ASEAN community remains the top priority of the regional group despite the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials outlined during an online meeting hosted by Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung.

The officials pledged to work closely with Vietnam, the rotating chairman of the ASEAN Year 2020, in an effort to fulfil the group’s priorities and initiatives for the year, including a mid-term review of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025. This will take place alongside a review of the implementation of the ASEAN Charter, preparations for formulating the ASEAN Community Vision after 2025, as well as fostering a sense of ASEAN community and identity.

Delegates welcomed the recent operations of the COVID-19 ASEAN Fund and Thailand’s announcement to contribute a sum of US$100,000 to the fund. Participants also put the finishing touches to ASEAN’s post COVID-19 recovery roadmap, agreeing to complete the content of the plan ahead of the ASEAN 37 Summit which is scheduled to be held this November.

Delegates sounded their great appreciation for the country’s initiative in organising the ASEAN Forum on Sub-regional Development in Hanoi on July 14, in which Vietnam selected the theme of Converging Mekong sub-regional co-operation with ASEAN goals.

They affirmed that information shared at the forum will help members gain a better understanding of the development process, needs, and challenges that sub-regions face, while showing ASEAN’s larger and more effective role in supporting sub-regions to integrate with both the wider region and the world. In line with this they agreed to report the outcome of the forum to ASEAN Foreign Ministers in their upcoming meeting.

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ASEAN senior officials vow to move the ASEAN community project forward
With regard to ASEAN's external relations, participating countries stressed that the group should continue maintaining a central role while promoting co-operation alongside partners to get through the COVID-19 crisis.

They also reviewed specific co-operation activities with dialogue partners ahead of the upcoming ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting with partners.

Furthermore, ASEAN is expected to adopt eight action plans for the 2021 to 2025 period alongside partners such as Canada, China, India, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea (RoK), Russia, the United States, and the United Nations.

Officials therefore assigned the Secretariat to complete an overall evaluation report on ASEAN's external relations in an attempt to develop ties with the organisation’s latest partners in the near future.

The role of the ASEAN + 3 mechanism, made up of China, the RoK, and Japan, was highly appreciated during the meeting, with members agreeing to increase co-operation to cope with COVID-19 and sustain economic recovery moving forward, including strengthening regional financial and economic resilience.

Upon celebrating the 15th anniversary of the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN officials touched upon measures enacted to enhance the EAS's role and strategic value in a new development stage, while simultaneously strengthening its adaptability to face emerging challenges.

The Senior Officials Meetings of ASEAN + 3, the East Asia Summit, and the ASEAN Regional Forum are set to take place on July 20-21.