|Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (right) and NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan co-chair ASEAN Leaders' Interface with Representatives of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) in June. (Photo: VNA)
Since joining ASEAN, Vietnam has integrated more intensively and extensively into the global economy, and opened itself up to free trade, the Indonesian scholar said, stressing that the country now plays an important part in the global value chain.
“We see a more confident Vietnam on the world stage and it has made important contributions to the region during each of its chairmanship of the regional grouping,” he went on.
According to Almutaqqi, ASEAN’s greatest achievement is ensuring regional peace and stability, given the vast diversity found in Southeast Asia, with unresolved border disputes, and major powers using the region as an arena for their geo-strategic competitions.
Through years, ASEAN has enabled regional countries to not only handle these challenges but also prosper, he said, adding that countries worldwide have recognised ASEAN’s centrality in shaping regional affairs.
Almutaqqi pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic as the immediate challenge being faced by ASEAN, saying if the disease is not properly handled, it would lead to social and political unrest.
Therefore, it is necessary for ASEAN to lead the way in any post-pandemic recovery, he continued.
Beyond that, ASEAN still faces the traditional challenge of being caught between powers, and the grouping must be smart to avoid getting involved in any power contestation.