|Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of Vietnam’s SOM ASEAN, speak at a video conference of the bloc (Photo: VNA)
Despite not being among ASEAN’s founding members, Vietnam is progressing quickly in the region and plays an important role in connecting the five founding member states of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand with CLM countries (Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar).
Vietnam has an active and leading role in the ASEAN political-security community, he said, particularly in regional and maritime security.
Frederick emphasised that he was impressed by Vietnam’s results in controlling COVID-19, saying it did the best job among the ASEAN members.
He also noted that as Chair of ASEAN this year, Vietnam has held hundreds of online meetings at different levels and is doing well in difficult times.
At a special meeting on COVID-19 in April, Vietnam’s proposals were agreed upon by the member countries, the analyst went on, adding that it can play a leadership role whenever necessary and share its experience in successfully controlling the disease.
He predicted that the country would face challenges in the second half of the year, given the developments of the pandemic remains largely unknown, including how to interact with ASEAN member countries and other partners via online conferences; how the bloc and Vietnam as chair will respond to a second, third, or even fourth wave of COVID-19; and how ASEAN will continue pursuing free trade and multilateralism amid the current financial crisis.