and ensuring that the region’s dynamic and sustainable development continues in the long term.

Special summits to strengthen ASEAN, partners’ ties in COVID-19 fight hinh anh 1

COVID-19 has spread to all the 10 ASEAN member countries, which had recorded more than 19,200 cases of infection and nearly 800 deaths as at the night of April 12.

Aside from taking its toll on people’s health and lives, the pandemic has also affected regional economies, in particular service sectors which account for 30 percent of ASEAN’s GDP. It has disrupted regional and global supply chains, exposed a large number of people to the risk of job losses, and posed challenges in social security.

Many ASEAN events, including the ASEAN-US Special Summit and the 36th ASEAN Summit, have been postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Vietnam, as the ASEAN Chair in 2020, has been proactively working to promote the bloc’s solidarity and shared effort against the coronavirus.

In an article entitled “ASEAN’s cooperation to combat COVID-19”, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh wrote: “Vietnam, as the ASEAN Chair, and other ASEAN member states have identified the theme of ‘Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN’ for 2020, with the aim of kicking into high gear ASEAN Community building and promoting ASEAN’s role in a world filled with uncertainties. The sudden outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the unprecedented consequences and turbulence that have followed testify to the relevance of this theme and course of action.”

After consulting with other ASEAN leaders, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued an ASEAN Chairman’s Statement on the ASEAN Collective Response to the Outbreak of COVID-19 on February 14, affirming the bloc’s resolve and political commitment to controlling the disease.

The ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC), comprising foreign ministers of member states, held two meetings on February 20 and April 9 chaired by Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Minh to discuss measures to boost cooperation within ASEAN and between ASEAN and its partners in response to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, emergency response mechanisms for epidemics in ASEAN and ASEAN+3 countries were activated shortly after COVID-19 first broke out. ASEAN and Chinese foreign ministers issued a statement on the coronavirus on February 20. One day prior, ASEAN defense ministers adopted a joint statement on defense cooperation in response to the outbreak. The bloc’s economic ministers, meanwhile, released a joint statement on March 10 on strengthening ASEAN’s economic resilience to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

To prepare for the ASEAN and ASEAN+3 special summits, the online ACC meeting on April 9 devised several recommendations that focus on containing the spread of the disease, supporting ASEAN citizens affected by the pandemic in member nations and non-ASEAN countries, and mitigating the outbreak’s socio-economic impact. These recommendations will be submitted to leaders at the upcoming summits.

Additionally, Vietnam recently chaired the first meeting of the ACC Working Group on Public Health Emergencies while actively working to help foster the bloc’s cooperation with China, the US, and the EU.

The online ASEAN and ASEAN+3 special summits in response to COVID-19 are considered necessary, via which the bloc and its partners will express their strong commitment and resolve to preventing and eradicating the risks the pandemic poses to people’s lives and socio-economic stability in the region.

ASEAN+3 leaders discuss COVID-19 response

ASEAN 2020,COVID-19 fight,online special summit,ASEAN-US Special Summit,ASEAN Chair

Addressing the opening ceremony, PM Phúc said "countries in the region and the world are facing challenges caused by COVID-19 which has spread to more than 200 countries and territories, seriously affecting the socio-economic development of many countries, including ASEAN+3".

Promoting the spirit of “cohesive and responsive”, PM Phúc said the ASEAN Community had closely cooperated with partners and the international community to fight against the pandemic.

Efforts by the governments of ASEAN member countries, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea had brought in encouraging initial results, he said.

He affirmed that ASEAN+3 countries had a tradition of cooperation to effectively respond to economic challenges, natural disasters and pandemics, including the SARS pandemic in 2003.

"In response to the seriousness of the COVID-19, we need to promote that fine tradition, demonstrating solidarity and cooperate to overcome this challenging time,” he said.

He said he believed the summit would gain important results, confirming commitment and determination at the highest levels of ASEAN+3 countries in enhancing coordination to effectively fight against COVID-19, recovering socio-economic stability and ensuring a peaceful life for citizens, he said.

“The role of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea is very important,” he stressed.

At the summit, leaders of ASEAN+3 countries put forward specific measures and initiatives to promote cooperation in pandemic prevention and control and ensure active and sustainable development of the region for the long term. 

Japan values VN’s ASEAN Chairmanship role

ASEAN 2020,COVID-19 fight,online special summit,ASEAN-US Special Summit,ASEAN Chair
Japan highly values Vietnam’s leading role in ASEAN Chairmanship Year 2020

Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu on Tuesday affirmed that his country highly valued Việt Nam's leadership during its ASEAN Chairmanship Year 2020.

Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo, Motegi said Japan took note of Việt Nam's proactive call on ASEAN member states to cope with the COVID-19 outbreak and organise an online ASEAN+3 summit in response to the pandemic.

The videoconference took place on Tuesday afternoon with the participation of leaders from the 10 ASEAN member nations and the bloc’s three partners, China, the Republic of Korea and Japan.

He added that Japan would discuss measures to contain the spread of the pandemic and enhance international cooperation and joint actions in fiscal and monetary policies to support developing countries. 

Japanese official: Vietnam’s holding of Special ASEAN+3 Summit of significance

ASEAN 2020,COVID-19 fight,online special summit,ASEAN-US Special Summit,ASEAN Chair

Former Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan Asano Katsuhito

Former Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan Asano Katsuhito affirmed on April 13 that Vietnam’s organisation of an online special summit between ASEAN and its three partner countries of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ASEAN+3) in its role as the ASEAN Chair is the most appropriate and significant at this moment.

Talking to Vietnam News Agency correspondents in Tokyo, Asano explained that during the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam has taken the most rapid and effective measures.

He noted that the number of infection cases have justed surpassed 200, with no fatalities reported so far, which, he said, is an outstanding achievement in the context that the disease difficult to be controlled over the world.

He showed his belief that with this achievement, Vietnam will well fulfil its role as the chair of the Special ASEAN+3 Summit on COVID-19, and its anti-disease measures under the direction of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc are really a model for other countries.

Assessing the importance of cooperation and coordination among ASEAN+3 in the fight against the pandemic, Asano emphasised building a bilateral and multilateral cooperation and connectivity framework in disease prevention and control is essential and well-timed.

Countries have their own response measures, but the sharing of information, science - technology and medical experience between them is necessary, he added.

According to him, ASEAN member states, and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea should take the occasion to come up with a common mechanism to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regarding Japan’s support for ASEAN countries in this fight, the official said that his country is willing to provide financial assistance for them.

He noted that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had committed to supporting ASEAN countries as much as possible even after the pandemic ends, especially in the period of economic recovery.

Summits on COVID-19 symbolise regional solidarity: ASEAN leader

ASEAN 2020,COVID-19 fight,online special summit,ASEAN-US Special Summit,ASEAN Chair

Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi. — Photo courtesy of the ASEAN Secretariat 

The ASEAN and ASEAN + 3 Special Summits on COVID-19 Response symbolise regional solidarity, said Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency on Monday.

He stressed that the summits also reflect the parties' leadership in forging regional responses to complement national and global measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the ASEAN leader, the pandemic has shown the virus knows no national boundaries. A collective response from the region will complement and strengthen national and local responses.

“The summits will also provide for enhanced political co-ordination and commitment in concretising collective efforts from all stakeholders/sectors, to support whole-of-government and whole-of-health system approach with a stronger regional response in mitigating the impact of this pandemic,” he said.

The pandemic cannot be addressed by a one-off response. It requires a comprehensive long-term plan, going beyond current containment efforts to also focus on mitigation and recovery, he added.

 

“ASEAN seeks to enhance our co-operative relationships with our ASEAN Plus Three counterparts, to find ways in which we may work together to articulate a common unified response to COVID-19,” said Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi.

“ASEAN welcomes a unified approach to tackling the far-reaching impact of COVID-19. We expect collective effort in partnership with our external partners and relevant institutions on post-pandemic recovery is needed, particularly in the most affected sectors,” he noted.

“At the strategic level, these summits demonstrate ASEAN’s commitment to the principle of open-regionalism in this difficult time, as we realise that we are stronger together, and by working together we can overcome this unprecedented challenge more effectively and efficiently”.

ASEAN also expects enhanced collaboration in information and knowledge sharing. Not only in the areas of medical development, but also domestic policies related to social and health security given the vast impact of COVID-19, he added. 

ASEAN 2020: RoK President highlights int’l cooperation in quarantine, economy

ASEAN 2020,COVID-19 fight,online special summit,ASEAN-US Special Summit,ASEAN Chair

RoK President Moon Jae-in speaks during a Cabinet meeting held in Seoul (Photo: Yonhap)
 

President of the Republic of Korea (RoK) Moon Jae-in on April 14 stressed the importance of close international coordination on both antivirus quarantine and the economy in the face of a shift in global order.

He made the remark at a weekly Cabinet meeting hours before participating in the Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19.

"Quarantine cooperation and economic cooperation are two sides of the same coin," he said, adding that the RoK  government will cooperate actively with the entire world on both of the two sectors.

He said the ASEAN+3 summit to be held in April 14 afternoon will serve as an important opportunity.

The other attendees are the leaders of the 10 Southeast Asian countries, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. It will be chaired by Vietnam, the ASEAN Chair in 2020.

Moon pointed out that the COVID-19 has taught mankind that cooperation and solidarity are the only ways to overcome global challenges.

He said that the COVID-19 will reorganise global order and it is already a “supranational problem" that cannot be resolved by border walls and travel bans.

Summits enable ASEAN leaders to affirm determination to build community

Head of the Foreign Ministry’s ASEAN Department Vu Ho has said the Special ASEAN Summit and Special ASEAN+3 Summit on COVID-19 Response, to be held online for the first time on April 14, will enable ASEAN leaders to affirm their determination to build a cohesive and responsive community.

Talking with the press about difficulties in organising the event and preparations for its agenda, Ho said it is the first time in the 50-year history of the region a special summit will be held online with the participation of leaders of 13 countries, international organisations and the World Health Organisation.

According to him, the first difficulty is how to arrange suitable time for leaders to join the event and make speeches over 4-5 different time zones. The second is ASEAN process and procedures that must both ensure the image of regional solidarity and consensus and the positive outcomes of the event.

Asked about the significance of the summits, Ho said participants will discuss policy coordination, approaches and solutions to deal with the pandemic's impact on regional political and socio-economic aspects, towards a region of safety, peace and stability.

Since the outset of COVID-19, ASEAN has made positive moves, including launching the ASEAN Community Council (ACC) mechanism led by foreign ministers. With Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh as its Chairman, the ACC has taken concerted measures in the fields of health care, military medicine, economy and trade with an aim to effectively containing the spread of the pandemic.

In order to achieve sustainable development in the future, Ho suggested preventing COVID-19 from hurting international cooperation, dialogues and cooperation.

In face of challenges arising from the pandemic, he said it is time for Vietnam to play its active role and uphold the sense of responsibility for the community in its capacity as the ASEAN Chair in line with the theme “Cohesive and Responsive” initiated by the country.

Since the COVID-19 broke out earlier this year, Vietnam has actively shared information and experience via medical channels.

On February 14, in Vietnam’s capacity as the ASEAN Chair 2020, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued the ASEAN Chairman’s Statement on the bloc’s response to the outbreak of the epidemic. With the directions of Vietnam, ASEAN issued declarations on COVID-19 prevention and control during online meetings of ASEAN Health Ministers, ASEAN 3 Health Ministers, and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Retreat.

Apart from internal discussions in the past month, ASEAN also held online talks with the European Union and China, and will do the same with US in the future to discuss anti-COVID-19 measures.

Regarding economic recovery, Ho said member states are working closely together to maintain economic connectivity and offer aid packages. He expressed his hope that they will resume talks on political, security, economic and socio-cultural issues so as to restore international relations when the pandemic ends.

Ho also said that following the summits, ASEAN and ASEAN+3 declarations on COVID-19 response will be issued with a range of measures.

According to him, leaders will pledge to continue building an open and rules-based trade system, ensuring that supply chains will not be disrupted. They also plan to set up strategic medical reserves to respond to contingencies, which is also a long-term solution to counter epidemics in the region.

Cooperation remains a mainstream among regional countries, he said, adding that nations should have a common, suitable and balanced approach to development. To such end, policy coordination is of significance to meet public demand and maintain the development of economies.

RoK official: ASEAN+3 meeting to pool determination for COVID-19 fight

Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs of the Republic of Korea Gunn Kim has said the online ASEAN+3 meeting, scheduled for April 14, will pool political determination of leaders to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the meeting, leaders of the ASEAN member states together with China, the Republic of Korea and Japan will discuss ways to overcome the pandemic and mitigate its harmful impact on regional socio-economic development.

In a recent interview granted to Vietnam News Agency in Seoul, Kim said even when a country successfully contains the pandemic, it is still likely to break out again due to external sources, which is faced by the RoK at present.

According to him, RoK President Moon Jae-in will focus on three main points at the event, including enhancing medical cooperation to ensure that ASEAN and the RoK, Japan and China will become safer, mitigating the toll on the socio-economic aspect in each country, and responding to problems arising from the pandemic.

Concluding the event, leaders will offer ideas to cope with the pandemic.

About preparations for the event, Kim said it is an unprecedented crisis and when countries proposed holding the meeting, Vietnam answered quickly and prepared for its timely gathering. The nation also played a major role in drafting the joint statement following the event.

Expressing thanks to Vietnam which is playing the role of the ASEAN Chair 2020, Kim said he believes that the first online ASEAN+3 meeting will be a success.

ASEAN, ASEAN + 3 Special Summits on COVID-19 symbolise regional solidarity

The ASEAN and ASEAN+3 Special Summits on COVID-19 Response symbolise regional solidarity, said Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi in an written Interview with the Vietnam News Agency on April 13.

He stressed that the Summits also reflect ASEAN and Plus Three Dialogue Partners’ leadership in forging regional responses to complement national and global measures against COVID-19.

According to the ASEAN leader, the pandemic has shown that the virus knows no national boundaries. A collective response from the region will complement and strengthen national and local responses.

“The Summits will also provide for enhanced political coordination and commitment in concretising collective efforts from all stakeholders/sectors, to support whole-of-government and whole-of-health system approach with a stronger regional response in mitigating the impact of this pandemic,” he said.

Furthermore, the pandemic cannot be addressed by a one-off response. It requires a comprehensive long-term plan, going beyond the current containment efforts to also focus on mitigation and recovery, he added.

“ASEAN seeks to enhance our cooperative relationships with our ASEAN Plus Three counterparts, to find ways in which we may work together to articulate a common unified response to COVID-19,” said Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi.

“ASEAN welcomes a unified approach to tackling the far-reaching impact of COVID-19. We expect collective effort in partnership with our external partners and relevant institutions on post-pandemic recovery is needed, particularly in the most affected sectors,” he noted.

“At the strategic level, these Summits demonstrate ASEAN’s commitment to the principle of open-regionalism in this difficult time, as we realise that we are stronger together, and by working together we can overcome this unprecedented challenge more effectively and efficiently”.

ASEAN also expects enhanced collaborative effort in information and knowledge sharing. Not only in the areas of medical development, but also on domestic policies related to social and health security given the vast impact of COVID-19 on communities, he added.

 ASEAN 2020,COVID-19 fight,online special summit,ASEAN-US Special Summit,ASEAN Chair