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Remarks by ASEAN Sec-Gen Dato Lim Jock Hoi on the occasion of ASEAN 53rd founding anniversary

Update: August, 08/2020 - 13:10

 

ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi. Photo ASEAN Secretariat

 Remarks by Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN on the Occasion of the 53rd  ASEAN Day Online Celebration, August 8, 2020

Good morning.

This year, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration of ASEAN Day, for the first time, is done via online, over our digital and social media platforms.  Thank you  for  tuning  in  and  I  take  this  opportunity  to  welcome  you  to  the  2020  ASEAN  Day celebration.

The  last  five  years  have  been  an  exciting  expedition  for  ASEAN.  ASEAN  realised  its transformation from an “association” to a “community” on 31 December 2015. In 2017, on this day, ASEAN celebrated its 50th  anniversary “Golden Jubilee”. Last year, the Jakarta- based ASEAN Secretariat moved to its new twin-tower building, located next to its former office, now known as the “Heritage Site”. The two buildings are now in full-operation. In this regard,  I  would  like  to  thank  the  Government  of  Indonesia  for  the  staunch  support  in strengthening  the  operation  of  the  ASEAN  Secretariat. With  the  expanded  spaces,  the ASEAN Secretariat remains highly-committed to support the ASEAN Community building process and regional integration journey.

ASEAN – under Việt Nam’s strong and able Chairmanship – stays focused in undertaking important milestone exercises, as the region demonstrates commitment in its integration journey. One activity - the Mid-Term Review of the implementation of ASEAN Community 2025 Blueprints, is currently being conducted. This is pivotal in assessing the progress, identifying the  challenges, and  addressing the  implementation gaps of  the  three  pillars. Another example is RCEP – Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership – which is the  ASEAN-driven  trade  pact  considered  to  be  the  largest  global  trade  agreement comprising every key Asian economy.

In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the successful convening of the recent 36th  ASEAN virtual Summit was a clear illustration of ASEAN’s solidarity manifested in concrete regional cooperation. Together with the two Special Summits in April 2020, the 36th ASEAN Summit has, among others, reaffirmed the need for a regional recovery plan post-COVID-19. This plan  involves  collaboration  among  Member  States’  government  agencies,  industries, private sectors and other relevant stakeholders. The ultimate task is for ASEAN to have a robust, holistic and practical recovery framework to minimise the socio-economic effects of this pandemic, while propelling the economic trajectory.

The ASEAN Secretariat too has remained active during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Between 1 March to 31 July 2020, the secretariat continued to be in operation, and hosted and facilitated 300 video-conference online meetings, averaging about 3 virtual meetings per working day.

If  there  is  any  lesson  to  be  learned  from  this  COVID-19  pandemic,  it  is  that  in  an interconnected  world,  a  global  crisis  requires  international  cooperation,  and  no  single country can wrestle any crisis alone. Tackling the pandemic and its socio-economic impact demands solidarity and action at all levels across the international community. In the same context, ASEAN will and must continue to keep its market open, ensure the normal flows of  trade  and  supply  chain  connectivity,  particularly  for  essential  products.    Such  a demonstration of regional commitment is critical, in the absence of a coordinated global response and in light of the pressure to turn inward.

At  this  juncture,  I  would  like  to  acknowledge  the  valued  contributions  of  all  ASEAN stakeholders, such as our parliamentarians, ASEAN entities, academia, media, and youth, for their steadfast involvements in the ASEAN Community journey. I would also like to thank the ASEAN Dialogue Partners, Sectoral and Development Partners, as well as all other external partners for their valuable support to the ASEAN Community building. 

Thank you.

 

 

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