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Upcoming ASEAN Summit to concentrate on addressing COVID-19

06:01 | 24/06/2020

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and General Secretary of the National ASEAN 2020 Committee Nguyen Quoc Dung spoke of the upcoming 36th ASEAN Summit as well as topics to be tabled for discussion at the meeting, during a press conference in Hanoi on June 23, reported VNA.

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upcoming asean summit to concentrate on addressing covid 19
The press conference on the 36th ASEAN Summit. Photo: VNA

36th ASEAN Summit to be held online

To take place in Hanoi on June 26 in the form of a video conference, the summit will be the first official summit hosted by Vietnam as ASEAN 2020 Chair, Dung said.

Dung emphasised that the upcoming ASEAN Summit will focus on the development of the ASEAN Community in the immediate future and measures to address the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis in the region, reported VNA.

Noting that ASEAN has wanted to increase online meetings for years to cut travel and organisation costs but yet to realize it, Dung said the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the bloc’s member countries to do it this year, which took place effectively.

At the plenary session that will be chaired by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, participants will hear reports and give opinions on cooperation among ASEAN member nations in the three pillars of the ASEAN Community - political security, economics, and socio-cultural issues. They are also expected to propose measures for stronger cooperation between ASEAN and its partner countries in the time to come.

ASEAN leaders will also compare notes on regional and international issues of common concern, with a focus on how to effectively deal with the COVID-19 pandemic while promptly recovering socio-economic development in ASEAN member countries at the same time.

Regarding labour movement, the Deputy Minister said ASEANis optimistic that legal frameworks and agreements within the bloc will ensure adequate conditions for labour movement inside the bloc.

ASEAN leaders will hold dialogues with representatives from the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) on coordination between the two organisations in building a people-oriented ASEAN Community.

Dialogues between ASEAN leaders and ASEAN youth and representatives from the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-ABAC) will be arranged within the framework of the summit.

In particular, the ASEAN Leaders’ Special Session on Women’s Empowerment in the Digital Age - an initiative from Vietnam to affirm ASEAN leaders’ commitment to promoting gender equality and enhancing the role of women in building the ASEAN Community - will also be organised as part of celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the approval of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action for advancing women’s rights, Dung said.

ASEAN leaders will adopt an ASEAN Chair Statement on the outcomes of the 36th ASEAN Summit, a Vision Statement on ASEAN’s cohesion and proactive adaptation, and an ASEAN Declaration on human resources development for the changing world of work, he added.

upcoming asean summit to concentrate on addressing covid 19
Deputy Foreign Minister and General Secretary of the National ASEAN 2020 Committee Nguyen Quoc Dung (L) speaks at the press conference. Photo: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

According to VGP, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc will preside over the opening, plenary and special sessions on women’s empowerment in 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).

Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan will represent Vietnam to deliver a speech at the special session on women’s empowerment in digital age, and NA Vice Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong, head of the Vietnamese delegation to AIPA, will attend the dialogue between ASEAN leaders and AIPA.

Deputy PM, FM Pham Binh Minh will chair the informal ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting, 26th meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Council and 21st meeting of the ASEAN Political-Security Community Council.

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh will chair the ministerial meeting of participating countries in negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Meanwhile, Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung will chair the 23rd meeting of the ASEAN Cultural-Social Community Council.

According to him, the difference in time zone is the biggest challenge in holding video conferences with ASEAN partners, such as the upcoming meetings within the East-Asia Summit (EAS) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) with the participation of 27 countries, including those from North America and Australia.

The Deputy FM also said intensified strategic competition between the US and China, and among powers is posing many challenges to not only the ASEAN but also the world as a whole. Dung affirmed that ASEAN will not take sides and has its own stance on regional and international issues.

Citing the issuance of the “ASEAN outlook on the Indo-Pacific” under which the bloc has expressed its viewpoints on the region as well as its principles, he said that is the way for ASEAN to maintain its central role in the region.  

“I believe that this spirit will be upheld at the 36th ASEAN Summit, slated for June 26, as well as at the 37th summit in November,” he said.

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Hannah Nguyen