|Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Quốc Dũng. —VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Senior officials of ASEAN countries gathered online Thursday in preparation for the 54th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM).
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Quốc Dũng, head of the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) ASEAN Việt Nam, led the Vietnamese delegation.
Participating officials reviewed preparations for the AMM scheduled to take place via videoconference from August 2 to 6, and also discussed the bloc’s priorities for 2021.
They reaffirmed their commitment to supporting the initiatives of ASEAN in 2021 such as the ASEAN SHIELD, enhancing the combined strength of the bloc in responding to natural disasters, promoting multilateralism, improving awareness of the identity and spirit of the ASEAN Community, and building the post-2025 ASEAN Community Vision.
Given the COVID-19 resurgence in many regional countries, they underlined the urgency of augmenting response efforts, especially procuring vaccines, deploying the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund, and ensuring a comprehensive recovery.
The meeting stressed the importance of sub-regional cooperation in narrowing the development gap and building the ASEAN Community, highly valuing and supporting Việt Nam’s initiative to organise an ASEAN forum on sub-regional cooperation in late 2021.
Regarding external relations, officials discussed measures to enhance regional dialogue and cooperation and to further bring into play the bloc’s centrality in the ASEAN-led mechanisms.
Regional and international issues of common concern were also put on table at the event.
In his speech, Deputy Foreign Minister Dũng emphasised the vital role of vaccine and antiviral drugs in the COVID-19 fight, urging ASEAN countries to step up vaccine procurement plans, strengthen cooperation with partners in vaccine access, supply and distribution, share experience, and improve vaccine production capacity.
Việt Nam will keep working with other countries to effectively implement the cooperation outcomes obtained in 2020, including the building of the post-2025 ASEAN Community Vision, he affirmed.
Highlighting the significance of sub-regional cooperation, he appreciated the countries’ support for Việt Nam’s initiative to hold the ASEAN forum on sub-regional cooperation.
Dũng called for stronger connections and greater sub-regional cooperation with common development frameworks and programmes of ASEAN. This is one of the key objectives ASEAN Community Vision 2025 should realise.
The deputy minister also exchanged views on regional and international issues of shared concern, stressing that amid complex and unpredictable developments in the regional and international situation, ASEAN should maintain its solidarity and common voice and bring into play its centrality in dealing with issues related to regional peace, security, and stability.
On the occasion of the 26th anniversary of Việt Nam’s ASEAN membership (July 28, 1995 - 2021), he thanked all members of the bloc for consistently assisting and supporting the country, adding that Việt Nam will continue standing side by side with them on the path to a strong and dynamic ASEAN. — VNS