Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh chairs the virtual 21st ASEAN Political-Security Community Council Meeting on Wednesday. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh has urged ASEAN member states to further strengthen intra-bloc solidarity and cohesion, and enhance resilience in the face of challenges in the region and the world.
Minh made the statement while chairing the virtual 21st ASEAN Political-Security Community Council Meeting on Wednesday, which was attended by foreign ministers from the ten ASEAN countries and the ASEAN Secretary General.
The meeting aimed to review the progress of the ASEAN Political - Security Community Blueprint 2025 and discuss ways to beef up political and security cooperation among member states in the future.
ASEAN must always be consistent in awareness and action, maintain a common voice, and promote the observance of law in the region, he said.
Against a backdrop of rising strategic competition between global powerhouses, the bloc needs to maintain its centrality and at the same time improve existing cooperation mechanisms and processes to continue securing the engagement of and contributions from partners, Minh added.
The Deputy PM went on to emphasise the importance of adopting a comprehensive, multi-sectoral approach to effectively address increasingly complex security challenges.
He called on ASEAN member states to improve the quality of the implementation of the ASEAN Political - Security Community Blueprint 2025 in order to make it contribute practically to regional peace and security and benefit the people.
At the event, the ministers agreed that cooperation among ASEAN nations have been accelerated in various areas, including defence, counter-terrorism and fighting transnational crime, border management, anti-drug trafficking, trust building and preventive diplomacy.
They shared a common view that ASEAN’s cooperation mechanism has played a significant role in strengthening concerted relief efforts to prevent COVID-19 from spreading further.
The ministers also held that the ASEAN is facing a range of complicated security challenges, including growing tensions in hotspots such as the East Sea (South China Sea), the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East, as well as emerging non-traditional security challenges such as health security, water security and cyber security.
ASEAN reports adopted
Six reports from the ASEAN Secretary General and community pillars submitted to the upcoming 36th ASEAN Summit were adopted at the 26th ASEAN Coordinating Council Meeting, held online in Hà Nội on Wednesday under the chair of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Minh.
Ministers reviewed ASEAN cooperation in the first half of the year. They recognised the positive results the bloc has achieved in the fight against COVID-19 since the beginning of 2020 and reasserted their determination to maintain collaboration and endeavour to achieve set goals in a “Cohesive and Responsive” spirit.
Countries spoke highly of Việt Nam’s role as the ASEAN Chair 2020 and expressed their support for priorities and outcomes during the year.
Minh suggested member countries strengthen their cooperation to complete the mid-term review of the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, the ASEAN Charter, and measures to promote the bloc’s image and identity, and to build a post-2025 ASEAN Community Vision.
He affirmed Việt Nam’s determination to organise a successful summit, which would contribute to promoting the image of a cohesive and responsive ASEAN.
The official recommended ASEAN countries approve the Terms of Reference (TOR) on the establishment of ASEAN's COVID-19 response fund, and agree on the policy of building ASEAN's recovery plan.
The official asserted that Việt Nam will continue to complete the building of the ASEAN's standard operating procedure for emergency public health situations and ASEAN medical storage to soon submit to ASEAN leaders for approval.
He also called for ASEAN solidarity and cooperation in the fight against COVID-19 to minimise the negative impacts of the pandemic while maintaining regional comprehensive regional growth.
Countries highly valued Việt Nam's approach and guidance in the battle against COVID-19, and pledged to continue encouraging the participation of the whole community in the fight and promoting the outcomes achieved at the ASEAN and ASEAN+3 special summits on COVID-19 response. — VNS