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At the event (Photo: VNA)
It was the annual meeting within the framework of the ASEAN – Canada dialogue relations in order to discuss bilateral cooperation, global and regional issues of shared concern, and prepare for the ASEAN – Canada Foreign Ministerial Meeting slated for September.
The Vietnamese side affirmed that ASEAN has upheld the cohesive and responsive spirit and promoted solidarity to overcome difficulties caused by COVID-19.
Vietnam suggested Canada support the bloc’s anti-pandemic initiatives such as the ASEAN Fund for COVID-19 Response and the regional emergency reserve of medical supplies, as well as continue helping ASEAN mitigate the pandemic’s socio-economic impacts and promote recovery.
The Vietnamese delegation stressed that amid difficulties, countries need to join hands to bolster partnerships, uphold international law and conduct standards, ensure peace and stability, and create an environment conductive to recovery and development.
Reiterating the ASEAN’s principle stance on Bien Dong Sea issue that was affirmed by ASEAN leaders at the 36th ASEAN Summit, Vietnam affirmed that ASEAN will continue fostering constructive collaboration with all partners, including Canada, promoting dialogues, building trust and maintaining regional peace and stability.
During the dialogue, both sides took note of the effective implementation of the ASEAN – Canada Plan of Action for 2016-2020 with all lines of action done. Two-way trade hit 17.1 billion USD and Canada’s investment in the bloc reached 3.15 billion USD last year. The number of ASEAN students in Canada has soared 35 percent since 2017.
Amid the complicated developments of COVID-19, ASEAN member states hailed Canada for providing medical supplies worth 4.5 million CAD (3.38 million USD) to the bloc to fight COVID-19, and encouraging the country to contribute further to the ASEAN Fund for COVID-19 Response and the regional emergency reserve of medical supplies.
|Canadian Assistant Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Paul Thoppil.|
Canadian Assistant Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Paul Thoppil said Canada treasures cooperation with ASEAN, backs the bloc's central role in the regional architecture, and wants to participate deeper in regional cooperation mechanisms initiated and led by the grouping such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus) and the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF).
He spoke highly of Vietnam’s role as Chair of ASEAN 2020 in coordinating the region’s efforts, working closely with partners and the international community, and promptly coping with the pandemic.
Both sides agreed to work closely together to deal with COVID-19, stay ready to respond to new waves of infection, mitigate its socio-economic impacts and step up recovery.
They pledged to continue enhancing economic and trade links, maintain supply chain connectivity, support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, persify markets, explore the possibility of building a free trade agreement, further strengthen education and training cooperation and develop high-quality workforce via the Canada-ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development (SEED).
ASEAN and Canada also committed to effectively cope with emerging challenges in the region such as climate change, disaster management, and promote innovations to tap opportunities offered by the fourth industrial revolution.
Canada affirmed its support to ASEAN in promoting cooperation and dialogue, building trust and rules-based order in the region, upholding international law, settling disputes through peaceful measures in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and completing the building of a Code of Conduct (COC) in Bien Dong Sea ./.
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