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36th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and priorities in a new situation

With the COVID-19 pandemic still posing a threat to most countries, the 36th ASEAN Summit will be held online on June 26.

The summit will take place in an unprecedented situation as the novel coronavirus continues to spread all over the world, severely affecting socio-economic development and international trade and alarming global citizens in general and ASEAN member countries in particular. Vietnam as the Chair of ASEAN 2020 has made persistent and proactive efforts to perform its role, ensuring the 36th ASEAN Summit will achieve certain goals in line with the new environment.

‘Cohesive and responsive’ effort
By actively implementing multilateral guidelines, Vietnam has managed to enhance its stature in major regional and global forums.
In 2020, being both a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and the ASEAN Chair at the same time provides Vietnam with an important opportunity to make key contributions to the maintenance of regional and international peace, security and prosperity.

It is also an occasion to underline its status as a peace-loving, innovative and globally integrated nation.

As the chairman of the 36th ASEAN Summit, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will preside over the opening, plenary and special sessions on women’s empowerment in the digital age.

He will also chair dialogues between ASEAN leaders and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), ASEAN youth representatives and ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC).

Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, chairwoman of the National Assembly and also the chairwoman of AIPA 41, will represent Vietnam and speak at the special session on women’s empowerment in the digital age, and take part in the dialogue between ASEAN leaders and the AIPA.

Earlier a series of preparatory meetings were held from June 22 to 24.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Industry and Trade, Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs chaired an informal ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting, 26th meeting of the ASEAN Coordination Council, 21st meeting of the ASEAN Political-Security Community Council, the ministerial meeting of participating countries in negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and the 23rd meeting of the ASEAN Cultural-Social Community Council.

Promoting ASEAN role amid global crisis
In 2020 Vietnam held online conferences with regional and sub-regional partners at all levels to promote the initiatives and policies of the ASEAN Chair Year 2020, ensuring their implementation under the spirit of the 2020 theme of “Cohesive and Responsive” has not been delayed or interrupted.

Given the unpredictable COVID-19 situation in many countries, the 36th ASEAN Summit will be a video conference that will focus on reviewing and addressing difficulties and proposing appropriate measures to implement the initiatives of Việt Nam’s ASEAN Chair Year.

On that basis, Vietnam has called for focusing on launching four central outcomes agreed to by ASEAN leaders: establishment of an ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund, setting up ASEAN regional reserve warehouses for medical supplies and equipment, development of standard procedures to respond to emergency public medical conditions, and building post-COVID-19 recovery plans.

Referring to the major points on the agenda and preparations for combating the COVID-19 pandemic, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung stressed that the top priority was safeguarding the lives of people.“The first is making efforts to prevent and control the spread of the disease. The second is supporting ASEAN citizens affected by the pandemic and supporting and providing consular assistance to ASEAN citizens studying or working in ASEAN member nations and partners. And last but not least is alleviating the socio-economic impacts of the epidemic.”

Since the beginning of this year Vietnam, as the ASEAN Chair, together with other member nations, has been setting the theme for 2020, “Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN”, to accelerate the development of the ASEAN community and successfully carry forward ASEAN’s role in the world. The COVID-19 outbreak has brought unprecedented challenges and upset many aspects of people’s life in most countries around the world, clearly indicating that the motto “Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN” cannot be more apt at this juncture.

In its role as the ASEAN Chair, Vietnam has also been making great efforts to foster this spirit.

With solidarity and cohesion between ASEAN member countries, 36th ASEAN Summit will consistently execute the contents in ways that can ensure that the initiatives of Vietnam’s ASEAN Chair Year 2020 will be implemented successfully in line with the new situation.

Images caption:
1.The second teleconference of the ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group on Public Health Emergencies was held on June 22. Source: VNA
2.The 10th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Intersessional Ministerial Meeting took place on 23 June via video conferencing. Source: VNA

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