Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son suggested quickly spending $10.5 million earmarked from the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund to buy vaccines while speaking at the 29th ASEAN Coordinating Council Meeting.
Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son.
He also proposed reviewing the implementation of the ASEAN Charter, a major outcome of Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship Year 2020, saying the document should be realised effectively to improve the operational efficiency of the ASEAN apparatus in the time ahead.
Stressing the significance of equal and sustainable development in ASEAN, Son urged the grouping to further support disadvantaged areas, including the Mekong Sub-region, in its efforts to narrow the increasing development gap due to COVID-19.
“This should be integrated into the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plan IV,” he said.
Vietnam will make efforts to host the ASEAN forum on sub-regional cooperation: narrowing development gaps in sub-regions for comprehensive recovery and sustainable development, in the fourth quarter of this year, the minister said.
The council highlighted the progress made in ASEAN Community building in all three pillars despite complex developments of COVID-19 in the region.
The ministers affirmed their resolve to maintain the cooperation pace and approved many initiatives such as building the post-2025 ASEAN Community Vision, coping with COVID-19 and recovering the economy, improving the operational efficiency of the ASEAN apparatus, raising natural disaster response capacity, and optimising opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
They pledged to closely coordinate to complete priorities and major results in 2021 and thoroughly prepare for the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits in October.
At the end of the meeting, the ministers adopted many important documents, including the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the High Level Task Force on the ASEAN Community Post-2025 Vision. The council also agreed on the appointment of Ekkaphab Phanthavong, a Lao national, as ASEAN Deputy Secretary General for the Socio-Cultural Community for 2021-2024./.