Upholding spirit of “cohesion and proactive adaptation” within ASEAN Community

The Special Summits of ASEAN and ASEAN + 3 (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea) on responding to COVID-19 epidemic will be held on April 14 in the form of video conferences.

The Special ASEAN Summit on Covid-19 takes place on April 14 under the chair of PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc. (Photo: VGP)
The Special ASEAN Summit on Covid-19 takes place on April 14 under the chair of PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc. (Photo: VGP)

As Chair of ASEAN in 2020, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will chair the summits.

The events are expected to promote Vietnam’s positive role as the ASEAN Chair in 2020. They aim to uphold the spirit of “cohesion and proactive adaptation”, promote solidarity and unity within ASEAN, and boost the inclusive, synchronous, inter-branch and inter-pillar approach of the ASEAN Community as well as enhance its cooperation with its partners in controlling, preventing and minimising socio-economic impacts of the epidemic. The activities contribute to maintain the cooperation and integration among ASEAN countries, helping the bloc firmly overcome the current difficult and challenging time.

Amidst the Covid-19 outbreak around the globe and in ASEAN countries, as the Chair of ASEAN in 2020, Vietnam has been proactively and actively promoting solidarity and unity as well as coordinating joint efforts in epidemic response in the region since the beginning of the outbreak. Accordingly, on February 14, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued the ASEAN Chairman’s Statement on ASEAN Collective Response to the Outbreak of COVID-19; meanwhile, mechanisms to cope with emergencies within ASEAN and between ASEAN and East-North Asia were also activated.

The Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and China passed a statement of the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on the COVID-19 on February 20, 2020; the ASEAN Defense Ministers approved a joint statement on defence cooperation against disease outbreaks on February 19, 2020; and, on March 10, ASEAN Economic Ministers agreed to issue a joint statement on ASEAN's economic resilience to cope with COVID-19.

In preparation for the Special Summits of ASEAN and ASEAN + 3 on responding to COVID-19 epidemic, the 25th meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) was held in the form of a video conference on April 9, under the chair of the council’s chairman - Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh. Vietnam also chaired the establishment and convened the ACC’s Working Group on Public Health Emergencies (ACCWG-PHE), while significantly contributing to strengthening the cooperation between ASEAN and China, the US and the European Union (EU). Accordingly, ASEAN has promptly organised many meetings with dialogue partners such as China, the EU and the US, as well as important international organisations including World Health Organisation (WHO), to share experience and support together in coping effectively with the epidemic.

The proactive implementation of the above activities proved that, as the ASEAN Chair for 2020, Vietnam has actively enhanced the solidarity and unity as well as coordinated joint efforts of ASEAN in response to the pandemic. In addition, the activities have been deployed in line with the guidelines and Resolution of the Party’s 12th National Congress on proactive, intensive and deep international integration; improving the quality and effectiveness of multilateral foreign affairs; and upholding its role in order to contribute to shaping multilateral institutions. Vietnam is a friend, reliable partner and responsible member of the international and regional community, especially in responding to non-traditional challenges like the current epidemic outbreak.

Facing current regional and international challenges, particularly the Covid-19 pandemic, it is believed that with joint efforts with international efforts in fighting against the epidemic in many different forums such as G7, G20, and the United Nations, ASEAN countries will continue to effectively uphold the spirit of “cohesion and proactive adaptation”. Accordingly, the member countries will create consensus among ASEAN, contributing to consolidating the solidarity and unity, strengthening the cohesion and mutual assistance, and enhancing the cooperation and initiative of the community, particularly in the control, prevention and minimisation of socio-economic impacts of Covid-19.

May the Special Summits of ASEAN and ASEAN + 3 on responding to COVID-19 epidemic, under the chair of PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc, be successful. With joint efforts and high consensus, the leaders will work together to create comprehensive and synchronous initiatives and measures among ASEAN and ASEAN + 3 as well as between the region with other partners. These measures aim to control and prevent the spread of Covid-19, further promote their cooperation in the epidemic prevention and control, and minimise its socio-economic impacts, ensuring the region’s dynamic and sustainable development in the long term as well as maintaining the momentum of cooperation and integration to help ASEAN, together with the region and the world, in overcoming the current difficulties and challenges.