Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the international press conference (Photo: VNA)
During an international press conference following the event, PM Phuc, who is also ASEAN Chair 2020, affirmed that it is the first time in more than half of the century the ASEAN Summit has been held online with the attendance of leaders of all ASEAN member states who reached high consensus on important issues within the bloc.
Asked about regional cooperation in the fight against COVID-19 over the past time, the PM said the pandemic has spread worldwide, with over 130,000 infections and nearly 4,000 deaths in the region, adding that the bloc took drastic and rapid actions in the cohesive and responsive spirit, including holding ASEAN summit and ASEAN 3 summit, and ASEAN meetings with partners and initiating the establishment of COVID-19 response found, a medical warehouse and a standard process that were applauded by the community both inside and outside the region.
As a result, the ASEAN member states gradually curbed the pandemic and are striving to build the community, he said. The bloc has proved the power of its community to overcome unprecedented difficulties for the sake of common peace, stability and prosperity.
Regarding the impacts on Vietnam and ASEAN’s economic recovery following COVID-19 when the US and China – two major economic and trade partners of ASEAN, are competing geo-politically and economically, PM Phuc said the ASEAN and China as well as the US have bilateral and multilateral economic cooperation frameworks, which lay an important foundataion for them to strengthen economic links.
The ASEAN always wants mutually-beneficial cooperation for regional peace and future development of partners, including China and the US, he said, adding that fighting COVID-19 and economic recovery are two major taks for the common interest of the international community, the US and China.
He expected that China and the US would optimise similarities, overcome differences, build trust and bolster collaboration for the common interests of the region and the world.
According to the PM, Vietnam together with the ASEAN countries are embarking on a comprehensive plan on post-COVID-19 recovery, upholding the bloc’s central role, holding conferences with China and the US to maintain and facilitate trade and investment, and step up regional and global economic recovery.
Answering reporters’ query about the pandemic’s impacts on Vietnam’s agenda on the negotiations on the East Sea issues, PM Phuc affirmed that peace, security and stability in the region and the East Sea in particular are the common interest and aspiration of the community, especially the ASEAN.
The summit has reaffirmed the ASEAN’s determination to build the East Sea into a sea of cooperation, development, security and safety, he stressed.
As COVID-19 has disrupted discussions on the building of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) between the ASEAN and China, he said, adding that Vietnam and the ASEAN are working with parties concerned to exercise self-restraint, prevent actions that could complicate the situation at sea, comply with international law, build an East Sea of peace, friendship, cooperation, maritime and aviation freedom, seriously implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and accelerate talks on an effective and efficient COC in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
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