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ASEAN must be united to tackle common difficulties: Thai parliament president

Update: September, 08/2020 - 18:30

 

Chuan Leekpai , President of the National Assembly of Thailand and the Speaker of the Thai House of Representatives. — VNA/VNS Photo

Chuan Leekpai, President of the National Assembly of Thailand, talks to Ngọc Quang, Vietnam News Agency correspondent based in Bangkok about the need for parliaments to stay connected to the people and why ASEAN members must stay united amid the pandemic, on the occasion of the 41st ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly

What is the message Thailand wants to send to the AIPA 41? 

As we all are fully aware, ASEAN is facing the new challenge. The COVID-19 pandemic that first hit our region earlier this year has created new problems and worsened the difficulties in every country in the region. Apart from the enormous pressure on the medical and public health infrastructure, the pandemic is disrupting our lives, societies, and economies. Thailand would like to exchange the idea with AIPA colleagues on how we should tackle the difficulties we are facing during the pandemic. 

First, nationally, member of parliaments should stay connected to the people in order to get to know what they want and find the way to respond to those matters properly. 

Second, within the region, a closer inter-parliamentary co-operation is necessary; exchanging new-normal knowledge or best practices to cope with any difficulties in the period of the pandemic should be promoted. 

Finally, ASEAN unity could be essentially strengthened through the harmonisation of laws of the member states. 

What is the main agenda of the AIPA 41 and what do you expect from the meetings?

As the main theme of the 41st AIPA General Assembly is 'Parliamentary Diplomacy for a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community', the main agenda should focus on how we can promote parliamentary diplomacy among the countries in the region as a complementary tool to move the community forward to achieve sustainable development in all areas. 

AIPA has demonstrated its role as a key parliamentary organisation for the deliberation of regional issues, which illustrates vividly the power of parliamentary diplomacy in ASEAN. This goes in line with the global trend of international parliamentary diplomacy by the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

So, we should reaffirm the role and the support of ASEAN parliaments in the ASEAN community building process and also emphasise the significance of parliamentary diplomacy for peace, security and stability amidst rapid and complex developments in regional and global situations to reinforce ASEAN’s centrality in regional and world affairs.

Regarding what we expect from the meetings, I am sure that all AIPA members are willing to exchange experiences or best practices with the floor in order to strengthen the connectivity as well as mutual understanding within the region. 

What is your assessment of Việt Nam’s efforts as the AIPA Chair, given the complex nature of the COVID-19 pandemic? 

On behalf of the National Assembly of Thailand, I have an honour to extend my deepest appreciation to Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân, Chairwoman of the National Assembly of Việt Nam for the success in her tenure as the chair of AIPA. During her presidency, she has shown her tireless efforts, wise counsel, and perseverance. It reminds me that, in the past year, the achievement of all AIPA activities would not have been possible without her at the helm. 

To illustrate, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed the global health security threat to humanity throughout the region. In the most difficult moment, the Vietnamese parliament has made every effort not only to deal with the spread of COVID-19 but also to hold three significant AIPA conferences. And, you may as well bear in mind the great success of these meetings in times of the global health crisis. 

Also, it is essential that all the success of AIPA would not have been possible without excellent management by the AIPA staff of the National Assembly of Việt Nam. Finally, I am certain that the 41st AIPA General Assembly on September 9-10, 2020 will be most successfully hosted by Việt Nam. — VNS

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