The 37th ASEAN Summit and related summits wrapped up on November 15 with more than 80 documents adopted to concretize the joint efforts of ASEAN member states and their partners in strengthening cooperation against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
|Pengiran Haji Sahari bin Pengiran Haji Salleh, Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to Vietnam (left) receives a hammer, which represents ASEAN Chairmanship, from Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc__Photo: VNA|
The number of adopted documents was the largest in the history of all ASEAN meetings, said Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
They included the Mid-term Review of ASEAN Community Vision 2025 Blueprints; ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework; ASEAN Plus Three Leaders’ Statement on Strengthening ASEAN Plus Three Co-operation for Economic and Financial Resilience in the Face of Emerging Challenges; and the Hanoi Declaration on the 15th Anniversary of the East Asia Summit.
“All initiatives proposed by Vietnam at the summits, as the ASEAN Chair 2020, were discussed, approved and warmly welcomed by ASEAN leaders and partners. Initiatives on establishing ASEAN COVID-19 Respond Fund, ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies and ASEAN Regional Centre on Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases received donations from many countries,” said Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung.
Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc said more than 20 meetings during the 37th ASEAN Summit discussed practical issues for nearly 630 million ASEAN citizens, focusing on COVID-19 response and economic recovery after the pandemic to realize the dual targets of pandemic prevention, control and production revitalization, creating jobs for local people. The initiatives adopted realize the spirit of “not leaving anyone behind”, narrowing development gaps and integrating sub-Mekong region co-operation into regional collaboration.
The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) holds a significant meaning to not only ASEAN but also global trade, helping minimize impacts caused by global supply chain disruption, promote trade flow within ASEAN and between ASEAN and its partners, Phuc said.
“ASEAN countries always welcome India’s return to the trade deal and will create favorable conditions for India if India wants to join.
“After the signing, RCEP member countries will follow their internal process to ratify the deal,” PM Phuc told media at the press conference.
|Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (sixth from left, first line) poses a photo with delegates to the closing ceremony of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits__Photo: VNA|
ASEAN leaders also discussed regional peace and security issues, especially in maritime co-operation.
“Leaders affirmed that during the challenging time in the post-COVID-19 period, cooperation to ensure peace and stability has become more urgent than ever. The respect for laws, sovereignty and legitimate rights of nations was highlighted, looking towards building a peaceful and stable South China Sea (called East Sea by Vietnam) and ensuring navigation and aviation freedom based on international laws, especially UNCLOS 1982.”
The summit and related meetings “have regarded dialogues as tools and put co-operation at the center”, opening a new path for ASEAN, elevating ASEAN relationships with partners towards co-operation for peace and prosperity, Phuc said.
“2020 is such a tough year with a heavy workload in the context of the pandemic. After more than five decades since its establishment, ASEAN continues to affirm the power of solidarity, resilience and adaptability to flexibly respond to challenges,” the PM said.- (VNS/VLLF)