Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) shakes hands with his countepart Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand, the host country of ASEAN in 2019, at the ceremony handing over the ASEAN chairmanship for 2020 to Vietnam in Bangkok on November 4



This is not the first time Vietnam has served in this post. In 2010, when it held the role for the first time, the country made an impression with many practical activities and programmes that considerably contributed to ASEAN’s development, as well as regional peace, stability and prosperity. This will be a solid foundation for Vietnam to act as the ASEAN Chair in 2020.

Vietnam has chosen “Cohesive and Responsive” as the theme for the ASEAN Year 2020, which will focus on bringing into play the bloc’s internal strengths through solidarity and connectivity, which include its cohesiveness in terms of economy and community building, along with each country’s people-centred development. Meanwhile, the “responsive” element means flexibly adapting to international and regional changes, along with intertwined challenges and opportunities, such as the rapid development of science and technology, growing competition among powers, and non-traditional challenges like climate change and epidemics.

Through its ASEAN chairmanship, Vietnam is set to demonstrate its leadership and coordination capability to help member countries grasp opportunities, overcome challenges, and build a sustainable community.

With that goal, the Vietnam has put forth five priorities for the ASEAN Chairmanship Year 2020, namely enhancing the bloc’s performance of its role and contribution to the maintenance of regional peace, security and stability; boosting regional connectivity, improving the capacity of adapting to and capitalising on the Fourth Industrial Revolution; promoting the awareness of the ASEAN Community and its identities to create common values for the group; reinforcing partnerships for peace and sustainable development with countries around the world; and improving ASEAN’s adaptability and efficiency by reforming institutions and bettering the operations of the association’s apparatus.

The ASEAN Chairmanship Year 2020 is considered the biggest multilateral event Vietnam will host next year, when the group will be half-way towards its plans to realise the ASEAN Vision 2025. It will also be an important year as the progress and achievements made will be evaluated in order to decide on the next steps to successfully achieve the targets of the ASEAN Community in 2025.

The year will also mark 25 years of Vietnam’s ASEAN membership.

Since it officially entered ASEAN on July 28, 1995, the country has always viewed the association as one of the top priorities in its foreign policy, and continuously made efforts to contribute to the bloc’s common activities as an active and responsible member. Major and effective contributions by Vietnam in the building of the ASEAN Community have helped the association raise its stature in the region and the world.

Also in 2020, Vietnam will act as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

Both positions are important diplomatic roles that will enable the country to illustrate its standing, prestige, as well as capacity in the international arena. It will also represent the whole ASEAN Community at the UN.

Many countries have expressed their belief that Vietnam will bring into play its capacity and show its sense of responsibility in these two positions.

Ten years since its first ASEAN chairmanship, Vietnam is ready to continue its role and sense of responsibility in the ASEAN Community, and help maintain the bloc’s development to meet member countries and partners’ aspirations and bring practical benefits to more than 630 million people in the region./. VNA