36th ASEAN Summit makes history amid COVID-19: Malaysian news agency

The Malaysian National News Agency (BERNAMA) has published an article entitled “36th ASEAN Summit made history amid COVID-19 pandemic”, in which it outlined how the event, which was held virtually for the first time, witnessed leaders of the member states reaffirming their commitment for the need to further bolster cooperation in the face of COVID-19.

The plenary session of the online 36th ASEAN Summit on June 26 (Photo: VNA)
The plenary session of the online 36th ASEAN Summit on June 26 (Photo: VNA)

“Although restricted by movement and space, as leaders of the grouping had not been able to meet physically in Vietnam this time – including to perform the ASEAN tradition of the crossover handshake – the meetings and interactions had proceeded virtually and in high spirit,” it wrote.

Under the chairmanship of Vietnam, the one-day summit, which carried the theme “Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN”, saw leaders discuss a wide range of issues and cooperation concerning the region, with a focus on the need for a comprehensive post-pandemic recovery plan for ASEAN.

Bernama quoted Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in his opening remarks at the 36th ASEAN Summit as saying that ASEAN must also be prepared to deal with the challenges ahead.

He said for the latter half of 2020, the challenge would be for the governments of the ASEAN member states to lead ASEAN out of this period of adversity, adding that if successful, it will stand as a testament to the lasting values and vitality of ASEAN Resilient and Dynamic Community.

According to PM Phuc, in addition to maintaining good control over the COVID-19 pandemic, ASEAN should promptly repair any damage, and revitalise its economies and economic development.