Despite difficulties and challenges in 2020, ASEAN cooperation has obtained upbeat outcomes this year, forming a strong foundation for the bloc’s development in the next stage, stated Deputy Foreign Minister and head of SOM ASEAN Vietnam Nguyen Quoc Dung on November 24.
He made the remarks at the Conversation with ASEAN Chair as part of the 4th ASEAN Media Forum (AMF), with the participation of the German Ambassador to Vietnam, representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat and regional and international media agencies.
Dung acknowledged that the momentum in building the ASEAN Community has been maintained, all set goals and plans have been completed, and the bloc’s central role has been consolidated.
He said such outcomes have contributed to sustaining peace, stability and recovery in the region.
The diplomat stressed ASEAN has maximized the cohesive and responsive spirit in 2020. The bloc has joined hands in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic via the prompt implementation of regional initiatives like the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund, the Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies, and the ASEAN Strategic Framework for Public Health Emergencies.
Representatives from participating regional and international news agencies lauded Vietnam’s 2020 ASEAN chairmanship, saying the country has led the bloc to overcome negative impacts of the pandemic and put forth priorities meeting demand of ASEAN member states and partners.
Participants shared the view that boosting economic and regional connectivity is also a highlight of Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship Year. The conclusion of negotiations on and the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) showed ASEAN’s strong commitment to promoting an open and multilateral trade system based on rules. Meanwhile, measures to help ASEAN’s capitalise on opportunities brought about by the 4th Revolution Industry were also implemented effectively this year.
Regarding regional and international affairs, Deputy Minister Dung reiterated ASEAN’s stance on maintaining a Southeast Asian region of peace, security, neutrality and stability that promotes mutual trust, respects international law and pursues a balanced approach in partnerships. The stance was made clear in the statement issued by ASEAN Foreign Ministers on the occasion of the 53rd anniversary of the grouping, and has been firmly maintained in 2020.
He underscored that the theme of the 2020 ASEAN Year shows Vietnam’s wish to build a cohesive ASEAN Community that is responsive to challenges and look forwards a complete recovery from the pandemic.
He also affirmed the importance of the ‘think Community and act Community’ concept for regional peace, prosperity and sustainable development.