|Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Quốc Dũng speaks at an online conference of the Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) delegation on Thursday in preparation for the upcoming ASEAN Summits. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs|
HÀ NỘI High-level ASEAN officials held an online meeting on Thursday to prepare for the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits and related summits, which are slated to take place virtually between October 26 and 28.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Quốc Dũng, who is also head of Việt Nam’s Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) delegation, represented the country at the meeting.
The meeting reviewed the preparation of the summits’ programmes, agendas, and draft documents to be presented to the senior leaders.
ASEAN’s priorities for 2021 were discussed, including the Strategic and Holistic Initiative to Link ASEAN Responses to Emergencies and Disasters (ASEAN SHIELD) proposed by Brunei, chair of the bloc this year.
An ASEAN nuclear emergency preparedness and response framework was approved at the request of the ASEAN Network of Regulatory Bodies on Atomic Energy (ASEANTOM), which was considered a major contribution to ASEAN SHIELD.
The implementation of the bloc’s 2020 plans was also discussed, which include the ASEAN Charter, and building a vision of the ASEAN Community after 2025 and sub-regional cooperation.
ASEAN nations agreed to continue implementing the Five-Point Consensus regarding the situation in Myanmar, in which they would prioritise humanitarian aid to the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They praised the medical equipment aid worth USS$1.1 million sent to Myanmar on September 15 by the ASEAN Secretariat, and ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA).
Delegates stressed the importance of organising the ASEAN high-level forum on sub-regional cooperation towards sustainable development and inclusive growth on November 30, saying such cooperation plays a pivotal role in bridging development gaps between the countries and in building a solid ASEAN Community.
The meeting also provided updates on ASEAN’s foreign collaborations and discussed cooperation strategies with the United Kingdom – the bloc’s latest dialogue partner. The officials stressed the importance of encouraging these partnerships that contribute to the region’s peace, security, and stability.
Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Dũng said he highly valued the efforts made by Brunei, ASEAN Chair for 2021, to maintain and coordinate the bloc’s activities during this difficult time. He thanked other countries’ support of the ASEAN high-level forum on sub-regional cooperation to be held on November 30, and expressed his hope that their contributions to the forum will continue.
He also expressed his appreciation of the coordination of humanitarian aid to Myanmar from the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair for Myanmar and the ASEAN Secretary-General. He confirmed that Việt Nam will continue to closely collaborate with other countries to implement the Five-Point Consensus regarding the situation in Myanmar.
He stressed the importance of maintaining the bloc’s central role in the region and promoting its common voice on issues related to regional peace, security, and stability. VNS