|Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hà Kim Ngọc. — Photo from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs|
HÀ NỘI — The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has demonstrated its resilience and ability to effectively respond to the great challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and fierce competition between big countries, according to Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hà Kim Ngọc.
Ngọc granted an interview to the media about the achievements of ASEAN as well as the role and contributions of Việt Nam as an active and responsible member, as the bloc celebrates its 55th founding anniversary (August 8, 1977 – 2022).
The outbreak of the pandemic disrupted most daily activities, however, under the guidance of Việt Nam during the 2020 Chairmanship, ASEAN proved its adaptation capacity and promptly switched meetings and activities to online, thereby maintaining the momentum of cooperation, regional links and community-building efforts, and responding to the pandemic together.
The bloc quickly approved and implemented initiatives such as the establishment of the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund and the Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergencies to promptly mobilise ASEAN's resources, as well as the support of partners for pandemic prevention and control.
ASEAN promoted post-pandemic recovery measures, including the development of an ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, signing an agreement on the ASEAN Travel Corridor Framework – an initiative to facilitate travel for official and business purposes in ASEAN, before the pandemic was brought completely under control. These measures had positive effects, helping ASEAN countries to control the pandemic, gradually reopen, and promote cooperation in the revival of socio-economic development.
ASEAN will continue to face many challenges, including the risk of inflation, economic recession, energy and food crises due to the impact of the conflict in Ukraine, competition among world powers, territory sovereignty disputes, and environment and climate change. However, it is believed that ASEAN will overcome these challenges, the Deputy FM said.
Firstly, the achievements obtained over the past 55 years are foundations for the bloc to continue to promote cooperation and improve its capacity and resistance to external influences.
Secondly, ASEAN has experience in dealing with difficulties and challenges, most recently dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thirdly, ASEAN continues to maintain internal solidarity and unity and has external support and assistance from ASEAN's partners and the international community.
Mentioning the achievements of ASEAN in the past 55 years, the Deputy FM said ASEAN has become one of the most successful regional organisations in the world in three aspects.
ASEAN has built and maintained a peaceful, stable and secure regional environment for decades. This is an important premise for the development and growth of the bloc.
ASEAN is now a community with an extensive level of cooperation and connectivity on the three pillars of politics-security, economy and culture-society. It is an organisation with increasing reputation and position, has open external relations, plays a central role in the region, and is supported by partners, he said.
Regarding the major contributions that Việt Nam has made to the bloc, the diplomat said that Việt Nam, ranking third in terms of population and fourth in terms of area in the Southeast Asian region, has helped ASEAN become stronger in resources, scale and organisation, helping to put an end to suspicions, divisions and confrontations, and opening a new era of peace, stability, cooperation and development.
Moreover, Việt Nam has actively engaged in and contributed to major decisions in ASEAN, including the ASEAN Charter, the ASEAN Community 2025 Vision and Master Plans, as well as the ASEAN Master Plan on Connectivity, and the Initiative of ASEAN Integration, taking part in the decision to expand the East Asia Summit to include Russia and the United States, holding the first ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus, and mobilising support for ASEAN to be represented at the G20 Summit held in South Korea and Canada, Ngọc said.
Việt Nam has intensively rolled out cooperation activities in politics-security, culture-society and economy, while chairing many events, noted the diplomat. VNS