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Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of Vietnam’s ASEAN Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) delegation, hosted the ASEAN SOM in Hanoi on October 7. Present were various SOM heads from other ASEAN member states, along with the Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN.
According to VOV, the participants expressed their satisfaction with the results achieved through ASEAN co-operation since the beginning of the year, adding that under the nation’s guidance as the Chair of ASEAN, the community has been able to implement an active building process. As such, all of ASEAN's initiatives and priorities for the year have been carried out according to schedule.
With regard to the midterm review of the implementation of the ASEAN Leaders' Vision Statement on the ASEAN Community Blueprints 2025, all three pillars of the vision are being followed. In addition, ASEAN has also agreed to build upon the Hanoi Declaration relating to the ASEAN Community Vision after 2025 with a report on the review of the implementation of the ASEAN Charter. This will encourage the increased hoisting of the ASEAN flag during the 37th upcoming ASEAN Summit.
Many members also feel that sub-region development will play an important role in the community building process. Therefore, ASEAN should strive to co-ordinate joint activities in the sub-regions, with delegates consenting to ask the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) to report on this content to ASEAN leaders in order to receive guidance.
With regard to the current situation in the East Sea, the Conference reaffirmed ASEAN's stance at the 36th ASEAN Summit and the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting. The occasion also gave members the chance to underscore the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation at sea and in terms of aviation in the East Sea, internationally known as South China Sea.
Members of the bloc pledged to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) in co-ordination with China as a means of swiftly completing negotiations on a substantive and effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC). The COC will be in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of ASEAN SOM of Vietnam, charis the meeting from Hanoi (Photo: VNA)
With regard to the bloc’s joint response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the conference adopted terms of reference documents (TOR) in order to establish a regional medical material storage system and ASEAN Fund for COVID-19 response.
ASEAN Officials also urged ASEAN Health officials to rapidly finalise the ASEAN standard operating procedure (SOP) available for public health emergencies.
During the course of the meeting, various countries offered their opinions on the initial draft of the ASEAN overall recovery framework, along with the implementation plan of specialised channels. Members largely voiced their support for the policy of building an ASEAN travel corridor in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic remaining complicated.
Upon discussing ASEAN's external relations, nation’s emphasised the importance of the regional bloc's central role, commenting on ASEAN's Dialogue Partnership Standard, while considering new partners. They all agreed to support the Vietnamese proposal to issue an ASEAN + 3 Declaration on economic and financial self-reliance aimed at responding to emerging challenges.
Deputy Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung was appreciative of the co-operation between ASEAN member states and the Chair of ASEAN, proposing more active co-ordination with ASEAN members and ASEAN competent agencies. Indeed, this should be done to complete the initiative priorities during the year of ASEAN 2020, and to initiate COVID-19 response schemes according to the roadmap.
Earlier, the 36th ASEAN Summit took place remotely on June 26 via teleconference in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc subsequently affirmed that the Summit was a success via a video conference, confirming that was the first time in more than half a century the ASEAN Summit has been held online with the attendance of leaders of all ASEAN member states who reached high consensus on important issues within the bloc.
Vietnam, as the ASEAN Chair, emphasized unity in the region to respond to current challenges, with ASEAN leaders discussed cooperation on public health, and draft a plan for post COVID-19 rehabilitation. Other topics to be considered include human and food security and women’s rights, so as to support economic growth. These issues were expected to result in agreements, along with the signing of documents on the development of labor potential, cited Thailand-based NNT News Agency quoting from a source.
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