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|Vietnam took over the chairmanship of ASEAN from Thailand in November 2019. (Photo: VNA)|
Modern Diplomacy - a group of distinguished thinkers, analysts, academics, diplomats, and entrepreneurs from all over the globe published an article on November 10 to assess Vietnam’s Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2020.
According to the article, Vietnam took the chairmanship of ASEAN when the organization was facing challenges with regard to peace and security, climate change effects, and also the need for outlining the future for developing the region as an ASEAN community. Despite those challenges, Vietnam has effectively brought about comprehensive assessment of the institutional mechanisms within the organization, and also reviewed the documents with regard to ASEAN community blueprints.
Over the period of eleven months, ASEAN under Vietnam's chairmanship has worked strongly with regard to developing better relationships with dialogue partners including European Union, China and India as well as coordinating meetings between ASEAN and Japan, most of them in online mode. Notably, the agenda for the year 2020 has been outlined for ASEAN under the Vietnam chairmanship and there were challenges with regard to addressing issues related to economic integration and also developing common protocols about public health emergencies, and sharing of information related to the countermeasures against COVID- 19.
|Special ASEAN+3 Summit (Photo: Vietnam Plus)|
During the ASEAN senior officials meeting many issues which have been discussed in the past have been highlighted and a common consensus was reached. One of the earliest meetings which were conducted by Vietnam has been in the field of ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) organized at Laos which acknowledged the gravity of the situation in the COVID-19 phase, and stated that ASEAN solidarity and unity is necessary for preventing and making countermeasures against this pandemic.
Even before ACC meetings when the foreign ministers retreat was held in January 2020, the issues of stability and prosperity as well as addressing the emerging challenges in the South China Sea was addressed without any biases. Even though one of the biggest handicaps which were faced by Vietnam during the whole year has been conducting online conferences and developing understanding among ASEAN member states but Vietnam very tactfully addressed the issue of 4th industrial revolution in the meetings, and how it is going to change the economic landscape of the region. It also highlighted the relevance of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) and exuded confidence that many other non-regional countries will be accepting the TAC.
Major initiatives that have been taken by Vietnam under the chairmanship included better cooperation on transnational crime, public security, and coordination among the ASEAN law enforcement agencies. Recognizing the need for better financial architecture in Southeast Asia, Hanoi has brought about dialogue between financial institutions and banking sectors in Southeast Asia and taking a cue from G-20 summits, it also addressed that there is a need for developing better organized financial architecture which can bring about financial stability.
|ASEAN Senior Official's Meeting. (Photo: The World and Vietnam)|
The article notes that the most important aspect which has been highlighted by Vietnam is developing a collective effort against the COVID-19 pandemic, and establishing joint groups related to public health emergencies. The major consideration which has been addressed by Hanoi has been in the field of trade facilitation and doing away with unnecessary non-tariff measures so that supply resilience, as well as new challenges such as food security, financial stability, and issues related to energy, can be addressed in a cohesive way.
"One must acknowledge the fact that despite a lot of constraints because of the online meetings, Vietnam was still able to get the approval of more than 42 documents during the September meeting of the ASEAN foreign ministers. One of the major highlights has been discussing the South China Sea and referring to it as the East Sea during the ministerial meetings", said Modern Diplomacy.
Vietnam is expected to take the lead with regard to outlining the utility of TAC, undertaking preparations with regard to granting development partnership to European nations such as France and Italy well at the same time bringing Cuba and Columbia as the new signatory to the TAC, the journal says.
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