Vietnam PM: COVID-19 is test of ASEAN’s mettle as maturing community

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (VNA)

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc opening the 36th ASEAN Summit (VNA)

HANOI: The 36th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit “Cohesive and Responsive” was opened in Hanoi by Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

In his opening remarks, PM Phuc highlighted the theme of the summit in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic which is hitting the region and the world.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, which broke out and quickly became widespread from the beginning of this year, has swept away the achievements that humankind had accumulated for years, deprived and threatened the lives of millions,” he said.

He applauded the spirit of solidarity and coordination among the countries, and prompt actions they are taking in the fight against the disease.

He warned that the pandemic is fanning the flames of dormant challenges within the political, economic and social environment of the world and in each region.

“International institutions and international law are being seriously challenged. Strategic friction among the major powers are exposing themselves and escalating. While the entire world is stretched thin in the fight against the pandemic, irresponsible acts and acts in violation of international law are still taking place, affecting the environment of security and stability in certain regions, including in our region.”

For the Vietnamese premier, “the strong advances of science and technology and the digital transformation taking place around the globe present both opportunities and challenges to countries, especially the developing ones.”

“Social conflicts stemming from social disparities, discrimination and stigma have deteriorated due to the pandemic, further widening the divide within countries,” he warned.

“In such context, countries need to uphold the spirit of solidarity, cooperation and the sense of responsibility towards the international community. The role and mission of major countries, and of multilateral and regional organizations have become more prominent than ever.”

Vietnam will continue to closely work with the other ASEAN member nations in the combat, he added.

“I expect that the 36th ASEAN Summit will be an occasion for ASEAN member states to reassert our spirit of solidarity, our strong political will and commitment to rise above the adversities of the pandemic and keep forging ahead. On the one hand, we need to maintain good control over the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other, we should promptly repair its damage, and revitalize our economy and resume our economic development. This should be coupled with efforts to realize the set targets for ASEAN cooperation and integration of this year,” he said.

“At this Summit, we will discuss a comprehensive post-pandemic recovery plan for ASEAN, and hasten the implementation of new initiatives, including the creation of the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund, the building of an ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies, and the establishment of an ASEAN Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Public Health Emergencies.”

PM Phuc thanked ASEAN leaders and ASEAN partners “who have joined their hands with Viet Nam – the ASEAN chair – in the collective response against the pandemic, especially the strong commitments you have pledged at the Special ASEAN and APT Summits on COVID-19 in April.”

He expressed his hope that the 36th ASEAN Summit will be an opportunity for the regional countries to affirm their solidarity, strong political will and high determination to overcome all the challenges.

“I am deeply confident that after every storm and typhoon, the stalks of padi rice on the logo of ASEAN will grow tighter-knit, and from it more grains of rice will spring forth, filled with the love, care and solidarity that define our big ASEAN family,” the Vietnamese leader said.

“At this Summit, I look forward to the adoption of the ASEAN Leaders’ Vision Statement on a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN: Rising above Challenges and Sustaining Growth. This shall be the compass for ASEAN to move ever confidently forward.”

Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » appearance » Widgets » and move a widget into Advertise Widget Zone