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ASEAN 2020: Vietnam vows to partner with others to fight COVID-19

Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on April 23 affirmed that Vietnam will enhance its cooperation with other countries, including the US, as well as the WHO and the international community in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the online Special ASEAN - US Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on COVID-19, Minh informed participants of the measures undertaken by the Vietnamese Government and the initial positive results.

He stressed that ASEAN has shown great political determination and increased coordination in a responsive and cohesive spirit.

The US, he suggested, could offer technical support and cooperation in epidemiology studies and treatment, ensuring the interests of ASEAN citizens and mitigating the pandemic’s impact on socio-economic development.

The official also called on countries to pay attention to issues regarding peace, regional security, stability, solidarity, trust building, and law abidance.

Sharing concerns over the complex developments of COVID-19, foreign ministers from ASEAN and the US shared their experience in fighting the pandemic, reached a consensus on countermeasures, and vowed to work closely together on other regional and global issues.

They agreed to step up information and experience sharing, policy coordination, and capacity building in the future to deal with contingencies.

They also highlighted the need for the early availability of vaccines and treatment medicines while ensuring that countries have equal access to vaccines.

Officials vowed to exert every effort to ease the socio-economic toll, guarantee price stability, and maintain regional and global supply chains, especially in essential goods.

Discussions also focused on long-term economic recovery measures via the Partnership on Regional Cooperation Optimisation (PROSPECT) and the Inclusive Growth in ASEAN through Innovation, Trade and E-Commerce (IGNITE) programmes.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his government has committed over 500 million USD in emergency assistance for the global fight against COVID-19, focusing on improving the capacity of labs, control, and rapid response.

The US also announced several initiatives, such as the ASEAN - US Health Futures and the ASEAN - US Network of Medical Experts, and support for ASEAN and its Secretariat to build infrastructure for epidemic control in the region.

The ASEAN side hailed the US for providing the bloc with over 35.3 million USD for anti-pandemic efforts. It proposed the country actively back ASEAN initiatives such as the establishment of a COVID-19 response fund and medical equipment reserves for emergency cases.

As countries are pooling resources for the fight, ministers highlighted the need to maintain a rules-based order in the region, ensuring peace, stability, security, and law abidance in the region, and strengthening trust and transparency to prevent further complicating the situation./.VNA

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