ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly Secretary-General Nguyễn Tường Vân. — VNA/VNS Photo Hữu Chiến
JAKARTA — The Vietnamese National Assembly (NA)’s thorough and professional preparations for the 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA 41) left a good impression on and won the trust of international friends, said AIPA Secretary-General Nguyễn Tường Vân.
Talking to the Vietnam News Agency ahead of the event, to be held virtually from September 8 to 10, Vân said that amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese NA took the initiative to move the event from offline to online, which she said reflected its flexibility, sense of responsibility and resolve to fulfil its role as AIPA Chair.
This is the third time the Vietnamese parliament has served as AIPA Chair and hosted an AIPA General Assembly, but the first time an event of this kind will take place as a teleconference.
The theme of AIPA 41, 'Parliamentary Diplomacy for a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community', matches the theme of Việt Nam’s 2020 ASEAN Chairmanship, which is 'Cohesive and Responsive', aiming to create consensus among member countries and inherit the outcomes of the 36th ASEAN Summit in June, especially initiatives suggested by Việt Nam and supported by other nations, according to Vân.
She added that upholding its chairmanship, Việt Nam has suggested the establishment of a mechanism of young parliamentarians’ meetings to promote youth people's role, while boosting links between AIPA activities and those of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in association with the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The country has also proposed themes for meetings of women parliamentarians and AIPA committees on political matters, economic matters and social matters and received other members’ support, she added.
There are two highly important principles in the ASEAN Charter and AIPA regulations, “consensus” and “non-intervention in one another’s internal affairs”, which have helped maintain the bloc’s solidarity and unity. However, Vân added, ASEAN and AIPA members haven’t always shared a common voice on certain regional issues in recent years.
During Việt Nam’s AIPA Chairmanship, politics – security remains a key area, aside from sensitive issues among ASEAN countries as well as between the bloc and partners. Therefore, it requires the host country’s sharpness, particularly in terms of negotiation skills, to seek similarities among partners who sometimes have very different interests and concerns, she noted.
As host of AIPA 41, the Vietnamese NA has worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to negotiate with other member parliaments to deal with some issues in the Political Affairs Committee’s agenda, Vân said.
She emphasised that Việt Nam concurrently serving as ASEAN Chair, AIPA 41 Chair and a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2020 holds great significance, allowing the country to continue affirming its growing position and role in the region and the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic and other developments in the region will pose challenges, requiring a high sense of responsibility from host Việt Nam. Therefore, the Secretary-General said, Việt Nam’s flexibility, proactiveness and sense of responsibility during the preparation for AIPA 41 have been highly valued by other countries.
According to her, the practical and effective contributions by the Vietnamese NA during the AIPA Chairmanship Year are critical to the reinforcement of the country’s friendship and co-operation with other ASEAN members, which in turn will provide the foundation for it to push ahead with and assert its stature during international integration. — VNS