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ASEAN 2020: Member nations discuss important cooperation issues

Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh chaired the Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (IAMM), the 21st ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), and the 26th ASEAN Coordinating Council Meeting, 

which were held online in Hanoi on June 24.

Representatives of the countries discussed regional and international developments and ASEAN external relations. They spoke highly of Vietnam’s efforts to prepare for the 36th ASEAN Summit slated for June 26 in the context of COVID-19, and agreed on the working agenda proposed by the host.

They  reiterated their “Cohesive and Responsive” spirit, adding that the pandemic could not undermine their solidarity, cooperation, activeness, and creativity.

Ministers agreed that ASEAN has become a central force in curbing the disease and maintaining socio-political stability in the region, and held that it is time for the bloc to take new steps by strengthening prevention and control of the pandemic’s recurrence, and developing recovery and post-pandemic development plans.

In this process, dialogues and cooperation are still needed, they suggested.

Participants also expressed their support for and willingness to cooperate in implementing initiatives proposed by Vietnam such as completing the mid-term review of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, evaluating the implementation of the ASEAN Charter, and building ASEAN's post-2025 development orientations.

Exchanging views on regional and international issues, the ministers reaffirmed ASEAN's viewpoints on the East Sea, the Rakhine State (Myanmar), and the Korean Peninsula.

Particularly, regarding the East Sea issue, ASEAN countries emphasised that peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the region should be taken as the top priority, especially as the international community is struggling against COVID-19.

They underlined the importance of the practice of restraint without taking actions to complicate the situation, while upholding international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982), fully implementing the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and quickly resuming negotiations for building an effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.

Six reports from the ASEAN Secretary General and community pillars submitted to the upcoming 36th ASEAN Summit were adopted at the 26th ASEAN Coordinating Council Meeting.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh highly valued ASEAN’s solidarity and cooperation spirit, describing this as a key factor to ensure peace and stability in the region, and a foundation for the bloc to overcome challenges posed by COVID-19.

For the situation in the world and the region, Minh expressed concern on the recent development in the East Sea and reiterated the consistent viewpoints of ASEAN and Vietnam in particular.

He called on ASEAN member states to promote responsibility, dialogues and cooperation for peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea.

In this process, it is essential to uphold international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, exercise self-restraint, avoid militarisation and actions that complicate the situation, and fully implement the DOC and build an effective COC in line with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, he added.

Founded in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups 10 member countries, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam./.

ASEAN urged to enhance resilience amid regional and int’l challenges


Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has urged ASEAN member states to further strengthen intra-bloc solidarity and cohesion, and enhance resilience in the face of challenges in the region and the world.

Minh made the statement while chairing the virtual 21st ASEAN Political-Security Community Council Meeting on June 24, which was attended by foreign ministers from the ten ASEAN countries and the ASEAN Secretary General.

The meeting aimed to review the progress of the ASEAN Political - Security Community Blueprint 2025 and discuss ways to beef up political and security cooperation among member states in the time to come.

The ASEAN must always be consistent in awareness and action, maintain a common voice, and promote the observance of law in the region, he said.

Against a backdrop of rising strategic competition between global powerhouses, the bloc needs to maintain its centrality and at the same time improve existing cooperation mechanisms and processes to continue securing the engagement of and contributions from partners, Minh added.

The Deputy PM went on to emphasise the importance of adopting a comprehensive, multi-sectoral approach to effectively address increasingly complex security challenges.

He called on ASEAN member states to improve the quality of the implementation of the ASEAN Political - Security Community Blueprint 2025 in order to make it contribute practically to regional peace and security and benefit the people.

At the event, the ministers agreed that cooperation among ASEAN nations have been accelerated in various areas, including defence, counter-terrorism and fighting transnational crime, border management, anti-drug trafficking, trust building and preventive diplomacy.

They shared a common view that ASEAN’s cooperation mechanism has played a significant role in strengthening concerted relief efforts to prevent the COVID-19 from spreading further.

The ministers also held that the ASEAN is facing a range of complicated security challenges, including growing tensions in hotspots such as the East Sea, the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East, as well as emerging non-traditional security challenges such as health security, water security and cyber security.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups 10 member states, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam./.


Lao highly values Vietnam as ASEAN Chair


Lao Deputy Foreign Minister Thongphane Savanphet has said Vietnam is performing well its role as the ASEAN Chair 2020, especially in leading the bloc to overcome challenges and difficulties posed by COVID-19.

In an interview to VNA, the official, who is also head of the SOM ASEAN of Laos, said Vietnam’s role in the context of the pandemic is extremely important. He further added that Vietnam is playing the key role in organising the implementation of agreements reached by ASEAN leaders.

On the adjustments of the agenda Vietnam has implemented for the chairmanship year, the Lao official highlighted that time has proven that measures taken by Vietnam are very good.

As for the expectation on Vietnam as the ASEAN Chair in the rest of the year, he spoke highly of the theme “Cohesive and Responsive” raised by Vietnam, affirming that it is very suitable to the cooperation of ASEAN.

The rest of the year will see many things to be done and Vietnam, as the ASEAN Chair, will have a very important role to play in pushing and organising the implementation of the initiatives as well as priorities, he said.

The official also expressed his belief that under the leading of Vietnam, ASEAN will together advance to successes, and affirmed that Laos will always support and help Vietnam to complete its role./

Thai Prime Minister to attend 36th ASEAN Summit

Thai Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is scheduled to attend the 36th ASEAN Summit and relevant meetings chaired by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on June 26.

According to a report from the Thai government, with the theme “Cohesive and Responsive”, the event will be the first summit held in the form of a video conference.

The summit will focus on enhancing cooperation among ASEAN member nations in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, and discussing a post-pandemic comprehensive recovery plan for the region.

PM Prayut will propose three post-pandemic approaches, including promoting ASEAN's true connection through accelerating the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 (MPAC 2025); fostering ASEAN's strengths from the inside through economic integration and digital infrastructure investment; and promoting ASEAN's long-term immunity with building a post-COVID-19 recovery plan whereby sustainable public health, food and human security will be centered.

In addition to the summit, the Thai leader will also attend the ASEAN Leaders’ Special Session on Women’s Empowerment in the Digital Age and interface sessions with representatives from the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), ASEAN Youth, and ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC)./. 

Indonesian scholar has high expectations for 36th ASEAN Summit

The upcoming 36th ASEAN Summit, chaired by Vietnam on June 26, will be important and significant for the bloc, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic and regional security issues, an Indonesian scholar has said.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency, Director of the ASEAN Studies Programme at Indonesia’s Habibie Centre Ahmad Ibrahim Almutaqqi said the summit offers the chance for ASEAN and its member states to show their importance in the development of the Indo-Pacific region.

The summit will discuss not only measures to deal with COVID-19 but also those for post-pandemic economic recovery. It will also be an opportunity for ASEAN leaders to call on involved parties to ease tensions in Asia and focus on more pressing issues such as COVID-19.

The Indonesian scholar said he appreciates the role Vietnam plays as Chair of ASEAN in 2020, as despite the impact of the pandemic it has carried out its tasks in an effort to ensure the proper functioning of ASEAN in this difficult year and in organising high-level meetings.

Over the next six months, he went on, ASEAN members should seek measures to reopen their economies in a safe manner, prevent a new wave of the disease from spreading, and address the consequences of the pandemic to create solid foundations for 2021./.

Laos supports ASEAN human resources development plan

Laos supports ASEAN’s human resources development plan, the Vientiane Times reported, quoting a speech by Lao Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune at the 23rd ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council (ASCC) meeting on June 23.

“Laos supports the ASEAN Declaration on Human Resource Development for Changing the World of Work. I believe that this declaration will provide a greater opportunity for ASEAN nations to share their benefits and interests and bring more benefits to the people of Asean,” Kikeo was quoted as saying at the meeting, which was held in the form of a video conference.

He expressed his belief that the plan will produce effective outcomes and great success, especially in the fields of labour and education, and called on ASEAN member nations to work together in post-pandemic recovery.

At the meeting hosted by Vietnam's Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs in its capacity as ASCC Chair 2020, participants shared their opinions on priorities and cooperation during the period of recovery from COVID-19, to set orientations for the ASEAN Community’s activities this year and the next five years, towards a cohesive ASEAN Community that is beneficial for all./. VNA


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