|Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the ASEAN Leaders's Interface with Representatives of ASEAN-BAC
According to the publication, evidence for the country’s competence can be seen following the recent 36th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi and its key role as a 25-year-old member of the regional bloc.
New Straits Times quoted a senior Vietnam Foreign Ministry spokesperson as saying that the country had not only hosted a historic summit during challenging times, but had successfully lived up to the summit's theme of “Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN”.
The spokesperson went on to describe the summit as an event that brought ASEAN members together while members strive towards achieving a progressive regional comprehensive economic recovery plan moving past the novel coronavirus.
"Vietnam shared its precious 25 years experiences as an ASEAN member in containing and combatting the pandemic with other members, while representing a co-ordinated effort to ensure global and regional resilience and sustainability," the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson noted that the country had made significant contributions to ASEAN since becoming a member on July 28, 1995, largely in terms of ensuring regional peace and stability, promoting intra-bloc co-operation, and providing greater opportunities for investment and economic growth.
New Straits Times shared the opinions of Dr. Tran Viet Thai, deputy director-general of the Institute for Foreign Strategic Studies at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, who claimed that the country’s priorities include offering support to develop a framework for regional security.
According to Dr. Thai, this feat can only be achieved by keeping ASEAN united and maintaining cohesion when confronted by outside influences, in addition to handling the pull-and-push of major powers within the region.
He added that the country, which occupies an increasingly important geo-political and geo-strategic location, can be considered a bridge that links different parts of the bloc.
The article also highlighted some milestones achieved by Vietnam, including the success of organising the 6th ASEAN Summit in 1998, only three years after becoming a member of the bloc.
Most notably, the 'Hanoi Action Programme' helped maintain co-operation and served to strengthen ASEAN's position in a challenging time during the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis.
New Straits Times also hailed the country’s success in its role as the ASEAN Standing Committee Chairman in 2001, in addition to its role as ASEAN president in 2010.
Both positions served to promote the enforcement culture and marked a great leap forward in terms of establishing an ASEAN Community by 2015, thereby enhancing the bloc's international role and position.
Furthermore, the newspaper also outlined Vietnam’s consistent support for expanding ASEAN's co-operation activities with East Asia at a high level, along with the participation of Russia and the United States, the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting, and for ASEAN to be represented at the G20 Summit.
The article also quoted former Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan as saying that the country had actively participated and played a dynamic role in promoting intra-bloc co-operation, as well as ASEAN's co-operation alongside other partners.