ASEAN marks 54th founding anniversary
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) celebrated its 54th founding anniversary on August 8, highlighting Brunei’s ASEAN Chairmanship Year’s theme of “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”.
Addressing the virtual ceremony, which was broadcast live on ASEAN social media channels, ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi stressed that since COVID-19 broke out in early 2020, the bloc has taken the opportunity to become an more inclusive and resilient community.
He underscored the need for the association to head towards long-term post-pandemic recovery by promoting comprehensive digital transformation in all fields.
For his part, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi called on all member countries to play a more positive role in shaping motivations of the region, promoting principles and values stated in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).
"The pandemic is hardly our only challenge, regional peace and stability also demand our attention. Great power rivalries show no signs of diminishing anytime soon and has the potential to sow division among us," she said.
Along with the official speeches, heads or representatives of ASEAN Centres and Facilities conveyed their well wishes to ASEAN.
In parallel to the ASEAN Gallery’s 20th anniversary, the online celebration featured the launch of August Gathering, a commemorative coffee table book of the gallery’s artworks by Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi and Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to ASEAN Lim Sungnam.
Separately, to further commemorate the 54th ASEAN Day, the ASEAN Secretariat, in collaboration with ASEAN member states, is hosting the second edition of the “ASEAN Online Sale Day” to connect e-marketplace companies to regional consumers. This event is part of ASEAN's efforts to rebuild consumer confidence, leveraging on digital technologies, towards a more robust recovery.
Besides, the celebration included the announcement of a new bursary initiative, “ASEAN-Maybank Scholarship,” supported by Maybank Foundation, a recently-accredited ASEAN Entity, in partnership with the ASEAN Secretariat. The scholarship will be co-implemented by the ASEAN Foundation and the ASEAN University Network. Its call for application will begin in 2022.
Meanwhile, the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN is organising a public webinar on August 11 focusing on health and economic recovery./.
Flag salute ceremony celebrates ASEAN’s 54th founding anniversary in Hanoi
The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on August 8 held a virtual ASEAN flag salute ceremony to celebrate the bloc’s 54th founding anniversary (August 8, 1967) and 26 years of Vietnam’s membership of the association.
The ceremony was chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son, with the attendance of Deputy FM and Head of Vietnam's SOM ASEAN Nguyen Quoc Dung, Honorary President of the ASEAN Women’s Circle of Hanoi (AWCH) Vu Thi Bich Ngoc, and the participation via videconference of ambassadors and representatives from nine embassies of ASEAN member countries in Hanoi.
The annual event aims to honour the association’s common values and commitments to promote solidarity, friendship and cooperation under the common house of ASEAN Community.
Addressing the ceremony, Son highlighted that the great achievements of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are the fruits of restless efforts in the cooperation process of people from ASEAN member countries.
Despite ups and downs in the history and various challenges, ASEAN has been a valuable asset and great interest of all member countries, requiring efforts of all members to maintain and reinforce.
Underlining adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the current fourth wave of infections, the minister lauded ASEAN’s stronger responding capacity and creativity in dealing with the pandemic, evidently through the prompt and timely implementation of initiatives such as the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, which has received more than 20 million USD, and the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergencies, thus becoming ready to support needy areas, along with economic measures to avoid the disruption of supply chains and form a safe travel corridor.
Son also stressed that amid great difficulties and challenges, the spirit of ASEAN Community and the awareness of the community must be associated in harmony into common responding efforts in national and regional levels. People in the region must feel their role as the soul and the cell of the ASEAN Community, he stated.
On the occasion, the minister announced the implementation of a decision of ASEAN leaders to encourage the regular hanging of the ASEAN flag at government offices from August 8.
Vietnam will fly the ASEAN flag alongside the national flag, initially at the Foreign Ministry's headquarters, and then government offices.
He expressed belief that flying the ASEAN flag will contribute to deepening the friendship and solidarity among ASEAN, reinforcing the social and cultural relationship among ASEAN people, enhancing the awareness about the association and inspiring people on the collective spirit and motivating their felling of belonging to the ASEAN Community./.
Deputy PM urges Kien Giang to speed up COVID-19 screening, testing
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has asked authorities of the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang to step up COVID-19 screening and testing in the community, especially in high-risk places such as markets, bus stations, and airports.
Addressing a working session with local officials on COVID-19 prevention and control on August 8, Dam, who is also Chairman of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, requested the province to implement these jobs more strictly and faster in order to swiftly zone off and stamp out the pandemic, towards forming a safe area in the southern region of Hau river.
Kien Giang must quickly set up a hotline to guide people to early recognise signs of suspected COVID-19 infection, so facilitating the screening in the community, he said.
The Deputy PM underlined the need to protect hospitals by increasing rapid testing to screen all medical staff, and those who have symptoms when they come for medical examination and treatment.
Kien Giang should promote the active role of community teams to detect and strictly handle those who do not make medical declarations or make dishonest declarations, he said, adding that this is the most radical anti-pandemic solutions.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of National Defence Sen. Lt. Gen. Vo Minh Luong, Head of the Government's Special Working Group, said that Kien Giang should focus on re-organising the management and tighten the control at concentrated quarantine sites to minimise cross-infection.
According to Vice Chairman of the provincial People's Committee Nguyen Luu Trung, as of 7am on August 8, Kien Giang reported 459 cases of COVID-19. Since July 19, the locality confirmed 276 cases, including 102 cases in the community.
The province complected two phases of COVID-19 vaccinations with more than 48,500 doses of vaccines administered to local people. It is carrying out the 3rd phase, which is expected to end on August 10.
Earlier on the same day, Dam inspects the treatment work at the provincial Hospital of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases, and the vaccination work and concentrated medical quarantine facilities at the provincial General Hospital./.
ASEAN member countries unite to overcome challenges, develop steadily
Amid complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, and other arising challenges in the region and the world, the Association of Southeast Asian Countries (ASEAN) has resolutely affirmed the spirit of solidarity and proactiveness to confront difficulties, overcome adversities, and gradually promoting economic recovery and better caring for people.
ASEAN was established on August 8, 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by foreign ministers of its founding countries members, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Phillippines, Singapore and Thailand.
Brunei joined the association in 1984. Vietnam became the 7th member of the bloc on July, 28, 1995. Laos and Myanmar were admitted to ASEAN on July 23, 1997. Cambodia became the 10th member of ASEAN on April 30, 1999, fulfilling the dream of ASEAN that includes 10 Southeast Asian nations.
After more than half a century of establishment and development, ASEAN has always steadily developed with outstanding achievements, bringing over 650 million people in the region a peaceful and stable environment for development, and building a expanded cooperation for regional and outside countries.
So far, ASEAN has become a comprehensive regional cooperation organization, operating on the legal basis of the ASEAN Charter. Its cooperation activities have covered a wide range of areas such as politics, economy, and society in the region.
ASEAN member nations have step by step overcome barriers of history and differences, joining hands in promoting intra-bloc cooperation and connectivity, towards realising common goals of peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region, contributing strengthening peace and cooperation in Asia Pacific.
The foundation for ASEAN’s achievements over the past 54 years are intra-group cooperation mechanisms implemented through treaties, forums, conferences, projects, development programmes, the foundation of ASEAN Free Trade Area and regional cultural and sports activities.
ASEAN is currently facing unprecedented challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other non-traditional challenges, requiring ASEAN member countries to unite and maintain the bloc’s central role in the region. They have have been working together to effectively solve common challenges of the region.
Speaking at the opening of the 54th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-54) and related meetings held virtually from August 2-6, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son affirmed that solidarity and unity are the foundation for ASEAN’s strength, especially in difficult times, which is clearly demonstrated in the current fight against COVID-19.
In the face of serious socio-economic impacts of the pandemic, more than ever, ASEAN needs to strongly promote the internal strength of a resilient and cohesive Community, affirm its role and responsibility to the development of the region, he stated.
Despite difficulties caused by the COVID-19 crisis, ASEAN has been making progress in building pillars and implementing the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, the master plans for the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 have been deployed evenly across the all pillars with significantly results.
ASEAN member countries have shown their unity on common issues in the region. In dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and promoting post-pandemic economic recovery, they have affirmed their efforts to implement joint initiatives and cooperation plans in responding the pandemic.
ASEAN has received commitments of cooperation and support from its partners in the fight against COVID-19, with an increasing number of vaccines for ASEAN countries and plans for economic recovery after the epidemic are being actively promoted.
The ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund has so far received 20.8 million USD contributed by the group’s member countries and partners.
The ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework is being implemented in accordance withe the roadmap, with the determination not to break supply chains, and create the most favourable conditions for businesses to be able to maintain trade and investment.
In particular, ASEAN has planned to promote digital transformation cooperation. ASEAN ministers in charge of digital cooperation approved a digital transformation plan until 2025.
On common issues of the region such as the Myanmar situation and the East Sea, ASEAN member countries reached high consensus on proposed solutions.
Over the last 26 years since joining ASEAN, Vietnam has become one of the active and responsible members, actively contributing to maintaining peace and prosperity in the region, and building a people-centered ASEAN Community.
During the times of assuming the rotating chairs of ASEAN, Vietnam actively played its leading role when introducing a series of initiatives and proposals.
In 2020, Vietnam's initiatives on cooperation in response to COVID-19 and promote post-pandemic recovery have been agreed upon and put into action by ASEAN members such as the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund, ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergencies, ASEAN Strategic Framework for Public Health Emergencies, ASEAN comprehensive recovery framework and implementation plan, and ASEAN Declaration on an ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement. These initiatives have contributed to helping ASEAN stand firm against the COVID-19 pandemic and recover soon, ensuring ASEAN's development orientations.
Vietnam has shown its activeness and proactiveness in multilateralizing and diversifying its foreign relations in line with the need of cooperation and development for peace and prosperity of the whole region./.
54th founding anniversary of ASEAN: Gold tested in fire
Through ups and downs of the world over the past more than five decades, the role and mettle of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have been reinforced and sharpened, making the bloc more completed and become stronger, Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son has stressed in an article on the occasion of the association’s 54th founding anniversary (August 8, 1967-2021).
Son highlighted that ASEAN has been one of the most important and successful regional organisations in the world, leading a wide and deep connectivity process, creating and maintaining peace, stability and development in Southeast Asia and the entire region.
From a group of war-divided countries, ASEAN has risen to a 10-member bloc with more than 650 million people having diverse cultural identities and a giant economic community having the fifth biggest GDP in the world, a trust-worthy partner of many countries and an organisation playing a central role in dialogue, cooperation and connectivity processes in the region, he noted.
The formation of an ASEAN Community with three key pillars of ASEAN Political-Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, is evidence for the bloc’s vitality, promoting the regional connectivity process to a new height for peace, cooperation and prosperous development.
The minister underscored fundamental principles of the bloc, including solidarity, consensus and not interfering into internal affairs of member states, stressing that ASEAN member countries have been supporting each other in overcoming adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The “ASEAN Manner” of solidarity and unity has helped the association and its members overcome tough times in the region and the world, turning the bloc into a more mature organisation with a higher role in the region.
Thanks to its prestige, position and central role, the association has expanded external relations and received support from the international community.
So far, ASEAN has set up dialogue partnerships with 11 countries and important organisations. Many standpoints and regulations of ASEAN, such as the ASEAN Charter, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) have been supported and welcomed by the international community and partners.
On the foundation of respecting international law and settling disputes and differences through peaceful measures in line with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), ASEAN has made important contributions to maintaining a peaceful and stable environment in the East Sea, which have been supported by the international community, Son wrote.
In terms of economic integration, so far, intra-bloc trade has accounted for about 25 percent of the total trade revenue of the whole bloc. The effective implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community is pushing the association closer to a united market with a scale of nearly 3 trillion USD. Besides, the association is also the centre of an expanded economic space with a network of eight free trade agreements (FTA), including the ASEAN Free Trade Area and seven FTAs with important partners, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), creating a free trade area accounting for 30 percent of the population and 32 percent of GDP of the world.
Over the past 54 years, ASEAN can be proud of itself as a successful regional connectivity model. The bloc’s achievements laid a foundation for ASEAN to be optimistic about the future growth of the grouping, he stressed.
Son underlined that ASEAN has been placed at an important position in the external policy and international integration of Vietnam. ASEAN is a gateway to bring Vietnam to wider playgrounds in the region and the world. Joining ASEAN is a decision of strategic vision of the Party and State, contributing to making a new development status for the country, reinforcing a peaceful and stable environment and optimising external resources for the country’s development and enhancement of its position.
Vietnam has seriously implemented its commitments and obligations as an ASEAN member, while making various important contributions to the promotion of intra-bloc solidarity, the building of the ASEAN Community and the implementation of the ASEAN Vision 2025.
Vietnam has performed the role of the ASEAN Chair three times, all in tough times of the association. In 2000-2001 period, the association entered a transitional period in Community building after experiencing the Asian financial crisis in 1997-1998. In 2010, the association realised its Community vision amid the serious impacts of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. Meanwhile, the year of 2020 saw the outbreak of COVID-19 in the global scale, leading to complicated changes in the international situation.
With the cohesive and responsive spirit and the persistence to ASEAN principles, Vietnam has joined hands with other ASEAN members to drive the association through hard times, actively adapting and responding to the new situation, firmly maintaining the trend of cooperation and connectivity in the region, affirming the central role and enhancing the position of the association. Many initiatives given by Vietnam in 2020 have become a shared property of ASEAN, including the ASEAN COVID-19 Respond Fund and the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergencies.
Realising its foreign policy set by the 13th National Party Congress and with a new status after 35 years of “Doi Moi” (Renewal), Vietnam has continued to work with other ASEAN members to build a Community of solidarity and strength, firmly holding the central role in the regional security architecture.
Vietnam will continue to make efforts to effectively implement initiatives and agreements, contributing to the settlement of common issues of ASEAN and the region, affirmed Son, stressing the need to foster coordination among ministries, sectors, localities and businesses in promoting ASEAN cooperation, with focus on personnel training.
The way ahead may tough, but with the promotion of the ASEAN manner and unique value, along with the determination and great development potential of member countries, ASEAN will make new chapters of success in building the ASEAN Community of solidarity, strength, self-reliance, bringing about benefits to all members and making important contributions to peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
“Vietnam will continue to spare no efforts, together with ASEAN, to realise this fine goal,” Son concluded./.