ASEAN leaders seek ways to combat COVID-19
08:00 | 14/04/2020
VGP - Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Chair of ASEAN 2020, will preside over the Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19 on Tuesday morning.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc enters the video conference room. Photo: VGP/Quang Hieu

     >>> PM Phuc's welcome remarks at Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19

The world is fighting an uphill battle to escape a global crisis, which has been unprecedented since the Second World War. This worst crisis stemmed from a virus that is miniscule in size, yet transboundary in nature, able to spread to every corner around the globe, threatening the lives of every person, every community, and the shared future of humanity as a whole.

In the afternoon, he will presides over the Special ASEAN+3 Summit on COVID-19. Photo: VGP/Quang Hieu

Combating this pandemic is a responsibility shared by all countries, governments, and regional and global mechanisms. In Southeast Asia and around the world, governments and citizens alike are taking resolute actions to fight this common adversary.

In particular, ASEAN member states have offered assistance to one another, and facilitated the highest level of support for ASEAN citizens within their respective territory. This bears testament to the ever more critical role of solidarity, and international cooperation to a further extent.

Given its centrality in the region, ASEAN provides a common shelter for its member states to weather the storm of COVID-19. Throughout our history of development over the past five decades, whenever challenged or faced with a  crisis, we emerge stronger. This time is no difference. ASEAN shall continue this time-tested value and fulfill its mission to support its member states during this circumstance of utmost hardship.

The ASEAN and ASEAN+3 Special Summits on COVID-19 Response symbolise regional solidarity, according to Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi. Photo: VGP/Quang Hieu

Viet Nam, 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 the 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 turbulences that followed, testified to the relevance of this theme and course of action. 

Since the early days of the outbreak, Viet Nam, together with ASEAN, has demonstrated quick and timely responsiveness, and cohesiveness in policy and action coordination among all member states. On February 14, Viet Nam issued the ASEAN Chair Statement on ASEAN’s joint response to COVID-19.

This was followed by a number of important Ministerial-level meetings on healthcare, economy and defense to ensure coordinated actions in combating the pandemic. ASEAN has also hosted various meetings with its dialogue partners, including China, the EU and the U.S. and important international organizations, such as the World Health Organizations (WHO), to exchange experience, provide mutual assistance and seek effective responses.

COVID-19 has spread to all 10 ASEAN member countries with more than 19,200 infection cases and nearly 800 deaths as of early Tuesday morning. Photo: VGP/Quang Hieu

ASEAN does not stand apart from the world. The well-being of our people and the performance of our economies are closely linked to the East Asian region and the world. Countries in our region have all suffered severe consequences from COVID-19.

Now more than ever, ASEAN understand the importance of think Community and act Community. It is incumbent upon ASEAN to capitalize on its centrality to play a meaningful role in ensuring the post-pandemic region and world of continued integration, greater prosperity and sustainable development./.

By Quang Minh

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