Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam has voiced their support for Singapore to become chair of ASEAN in 2018 and will co-ordinate with the country, as well as other ASEAN members, to push forward priorities and initiatives for ASEAN this year, in a bid to see further progress in building the ASEAN Community, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyễn Quốc Dũng said.
On the occasion of the Lunar New Year, the Deputy Foreign Minister spoke to the press about Việt Nam’s participation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2018.
Dũng said, noting its 50th anniversary, that ASEAN needed to renew itself on the basis of achievements over the past half century.
“In 2018, there is great expectation for ASEAN under the chair of Singapore, one of the most developed countries in the region,” he said, adding that Singapore is expected to lead ASEAN on the right track and develop new breakthroughs.
The diplomat stressed that Singapore had set the theme for the year as Resilient and Innovative, in working towards promoting and maintaining a rule-based regional order, to better respond to emerging security challenges, promote economic integration and enhance regional connectivity, thus turning ASEAN into a dynamic place for people to live, work and seek entertainment.
According to the deputy FM, ASEAN countries support those initiatives, as they suit the development level and requirements of ASEAN.
Dũng noted that Việt Nam would take up the role as chair of ASEAN in 2020, following Thailand in 2019. One advantage for Việt Nam was that the country can make use of the momentum created in the previous terms of Singapore and Thailand, he said, adding that, at the same time, Việt Nam would face pressures due to great expectations from countries in the region.
Therefore, in order to fulfill the role of ASEAN Chair, Việt Nam should carefully prepare its plans, well in advance.
In this spirit, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh recently chaired a conference on ASEAN pillar communities to clarify outstanding problems, directions to move forward, while improving the effectiveness of Việt Nam’s participation in ASEAN.
The first and foremost task was to improve awareness about participation in ASEAN, so that all ministries and sectors consider it as part of their own missions, thus taking up a more proactive attitude toward the regional bloc, Dũng said.
At the same time, Việt Nam should continue fine-tuning institutions and apparatus for ASEAN work, improve the co-ordination among ministries, sectors, local administrations and the business community, and invest more in resources for the work, in order to make greater contributions to the ASEAN community, while protecting the country’s own interests and priorities.
“We have had a firm foundation in ASEAN, and we will do our utmost to succeed in our term as ASEAN Chair, thus helping ASEAN make further strides forward, while enhancing our position,” Dũng said. — VNS