PM Chính reinforces ASEAN's role as the epicentre of growth

September 05, 2023 - 16:20
Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính on Tuesday led the Vietnamese delegation attending the plenary session of the 43rd ASEAN Summit, held in Jakarta, Indonesia.


PM Phạm Minh Chính and other ASEAN leaders at the opening ceremony. VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang

JAKARTA - During the plenary session of the 43rd ASEAN Summit, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính highlighted the need to enhance ASEAN's self-reliance by promoting economic linkages, expanding internal markets, and facilitating trade and investment flows.

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính on Tuesday led the Vietnamese delegation attending the plenary session of the 43rd ASEAN Summit, held in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Reporting on ASEAN's cooperation over the past year, ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn noted that the region had maintained positive economic growth momentum, with a forecast of 4.6 per cent in 2023 and 4.9 per cent in 2024. ASEAN's collective GDP reached an impressive 15 per cent, totalling US$3.8 trillion, and investment surged to a record high of over $224 billion.

However, the regional economy still faced potential risks, including the direct impact of geopolitical tensions, climate change, energy security, and food security. In response to these challenges, ASEAN was actively shifting towards digitalisation and sustainable development, enhancing regional competitiveness, and strengthening its role as a crucial link in the global value chain.

During the plenary session, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, and President of the World Bank, Ajay Banga, highlighted that in the challenging global economic landscape, ASEAN stood out as a bright spot with promising future prospects.

They emphasised that to realise sustained growth, ASEAN must expedite economic restructuring reforms, eliminate trade and investment barriers, and prioritise investments in human development, encompassing education, healthcare, equitable development, and the promotion of sustainable growth.

In the face of escalating geopolitical competition, unwavering values such as willpower, solidarity, cooperation, and trust remain essential tenets of multilateralism, essential for overcoming fragmentation and division.

Leaders of ASEAN member countries expressed their support for this year's cooperation theme, "ASEAN Matters: The Epicentre of Growth," which illustrates an active, resilient, and courageous ASEAN. Despite challenges, the momentum for building the ASEAN Community persists, leading to further cooperation across the three pillars of politics-security, economics, and culture-society.

This foundation creates opportunities and serves as a driving force for the continued development and growth of ASEAN in the future.

In this spirit, leaders engaged in discussions and acknowledged the ASEAN Community Vision 2045, which provides comprehensive guidance for building a Resilient, Dynamic, Creative, and People-centred ASEAN. This vision sets the strategic framework for the robust development and breakthroughs in ASEAN over the next two decades.

During this event, leaders endorsed several crucial documents, including declarations on inclusive development for people with disabilities, family development, and gender equality, as well as measures to enhance food security, early childhood care and education, and the Framework for the ASEAN Strategic Framework for Public Health Emergencies.

At the plenary session, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính shared his overall assessment of the dynamic nature of the year 2023. While the global economy had displayed more positive signs of recovery, there remained numerous risks, including unsustainable growth, sluggish trade recovery, and the growing complexity of geopolitical instability.

In this context, with the collective efforts and solidarity of member countries under the leadership of Indonesia, the current ASEAN Chair, the ASEAN Community continued to exhibit steady and robust development, continuously strengthening its influence and asserting itself as a pivotal driver of growth.

ASEAN maintained its status as a shining beacon of economic growth, the core of free trade agreement (FTA) networks, and the focal point of crucial regional cooperation mechanisms such as ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3, and the East Asia Summit (EAS).

To uphold and further enhance its "ASEAN matters" as the epicentre of growth, the Prime Minister stressed the imperative of bolstering ASEAN's self-reliance through the promotion of economic linkages, the expansion of intra-regional markets, and the facilitation of trade and investment flows.

Accordingly, the Prime Minister urged ASEAN member countries to swiftly eliminate policy and institutional bottlenecks and to maintain the stability of the intra-regional supply chain, thereby enhancing the region's resilience to pandemic-related impacts and external challenges.

The Prime Minister also urged ASEAN Economic Ministers to take decisive action in reviewing, upgrading, and negotiating new FTAs between ASEAN and its partners to generate fresh impetus for regional economic development.

The Prime Minister emphasised that ASEAN must recognise that ensuring peace, security, and stability in the region would primarily be its own responsibility and effort. To achieve this, ASEAN member countries must uphold the principles of solidarity, independence, self-reliance, and express these principles both in words and actions. Only then could ASEAN's role be effectively promoted and earn genuine respect from partners, particularly larger nations.

ASEAN would welcome its partners' participation in regional cooperation and their support for ASEAN in addressing common challenges.

Given the current backdrop of increasing friction and strategic competition among major countries, the Prime Minister particularly stressed that ASEAN must exhibit a strong and united front, encouraging partners to acknowledge ASEAN's central role and engage in sincere dialogue and cooperation while adhering to ASEAN's established principles.

With a vision of an equitable and sustainable ASEAN, the Prime Minister reaffirmed the core spirit of ASEAN, placing people at the centre, as the goal, and the driving force of the community-building process. This approach aims to continue narrowing the development gap within ASEAN, particularly in remote and sub-regional areas.

Prime Minister Chính commended Indonesia's initiatives in promoting the digital economy, blue ocean economy, food security, the establishment of an electric vehicle ecosystem, and sustainable self-reliance as proactive and creative steps taken by ASEAN to serve the practical interests of its people.

In this spirit, the Prime Minister announced that Việt Nam would host the ASEAN Future Forum on rapid, sustainable, people-centred development, as a complement to ASEAN's official forums and mechanisms.

This forum would provide an opportunity for extensive exchange of ideas and initiatives for regional cooperation, contributing to the establishment of a resilient and sustainable ASEAN Community. VNS