Deputy PM Phạm Bình Minh delivers a speech at the ASEAN Coordinating Council Meeting in Hà Nội on April 9. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — More than ever, ASEAN is fully aware of the significance of a community-based mindset and actions in the fight against COVID-19.
Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh stressed the point in his latest article titled 'ASEAN cooperation in fighting COVID-19: Solidarity is Strength' ahead of the Special ASEAN Summit scheduled to take place on April 14.
Minh expressed his belief that pursuing such an approach would demonstrate the shared responsibility and centrality of the bloc in making contributions to ensure the world would continue integration and prosperous and sustainable development once the pandemic ends.
Fighting the pandemic is the common responsibility of each nation, each government and regional and global mechanisms. In Southeast Asia and around the world, governments and people are taking drastic action to fight this common enemy, he wrote.
ASEAN countries have supported each other and created favourable conditions to help ASEAN citizens in their countries. This shows the spirit of solidarity and that co-operation are essential, he said.
Since early this year when Việt Nam assumed the ASEAN Chairmanship, the country and other members defined the general theme for 2020 as 'cohesive and responsive' with the aim of speeding up the building of the ASEAN Community and promoting the role of ASEAN, according to Minh.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Việt Nam and ASEAN have demonstrated the ability to respond quickly and promptly to the pandemic. ASEAN issued the ASEAN Chairman’s Statement on ASEAN Collective Response to the Outbreak of COVID-19 (on February 14) which was followed by a series of ministerial meetings in health care, economy and national defence to ensure comprehensive co-ordination in the fight against the pandemic.
ASEAN has also held many meetings with dialogue partners such as China, EU, the US and important international organisations such as the World Health Organization to share experience, support and effectively respond to the pandemic, the deputy PM said.
The countries in the region have been all heavily affected by COVID-19 but there have been tireless efforts in the fight against the pandemic, including early detection, implementing social distancing, face mask-wearing among the public and raising public awareness of COVID-19 and encouraging citizens to join the fight.
Working with recent international co-operation efforts in fighting COVID-19 at different forums such as G-7, G-20 and the United Nations, he said Việt Nam believed in a stronger international spirit and solidarity from ASEAN efforts and initiatives.
On April 14th, Việt Nam will host the special ASEAN Summit and the ASEAN+3 Special Summit (including China, Japan and South Korea) on COVID-19. Leaders will discuss solutions and initiatives to promote co-operation in the fight against the pandemic and ensure sustainable development of the region.
The deputy PM called on the ASEAN member countries and its partners to promptly mobilise resources, especially their reserves of medical supplies to meet urgent requirements and set up a fund to deal with the pandemic with assistance from its partners, including the United Nations and the World Health Organisation.
ASEAN needs to standardise and improve the effectiveness of policy and action co-ordination, with a focus on building procedures for joint responses to epidemic situations, he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic fight must be carried out in tandem with countering economic recession and social instability, in which citizens must be placed at the centre and no one is left behind.
He also called on member countries to pursue the common values on free trade and facilitation of investment to prevent disruption of supply chains and restore cross-border trade and exchanges once the pandemic is under control.
Over the past three months, Việt Nam’s efforts in the ASEAN Chairmanship role have shown a cohesive and responsive spirit. Together with solidarity and cohesion among member countries and support and close co-operation of partners, Việt Nam believes ASEAN will overcome this challenge with the region and the world. — VNS