|ASEAN senior officials meet prior to the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat (AMMR) in Jakarta, Indonesia on Feb 3-4, 2023. (photo: VOV)
The new context requires ASEAN to act flexibly
The annual meeting takes place with ASEAN going through a difficult period. ASEAN members have struggled to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and are in a stage of reopening and recovering with lots of socio-economic problems to solve. When COVID-19 subsided and opportunities for recovery appeared, the world encountered new complications, including military conflicts, an energy crisis, inflation, and exchange rate volatility. These unfavorable developments have hurt ASEAN's recovery efforts.
The ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat will discuss ASEAN’s development direction, propose initiatives and solutions to mitigate the difficulties, strengthen intra-regional unity, expand ASEAN's role in the region, and create favorable conditions for recovery.
Indonesia's ASEAN chairmanship, themed "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth”, will focus on strengthening ASEAN’s role, making ASEAN a key driving force, spreading the positive effects of growth inside and outside the region, and making ASEAN a bright economic spot in the world.
|Head of the Vietnamese permanent delegation to ASEAN Ambassador Nguyen Hai Bang (Photo: VOV)
Vietnam initiates ideas to improve ASEAN’s institutional capacity and operational efficiency
This year’s conference will include 3 important sessions. At the 1st session, on the Treaty to make Southeast Asia a Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone, ASEAN Foreign Ministers pointed out that ASEAN doesn’t have nuclear weapons, but that doesn’t mean it can’t use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Head of the Vietnamese permanent delegation to ASEAN Ambassador Nguyen Hai Bang said: “Vietnam discusses and comments on the action plan for the implementation of the Treaty to make Southeast Asia a nuclear-weapon-free zone for the next five years and find a common voice and approach among countries. This is a complicated issue, especially in the context of increasing strategic competition between major powers and countries with nuclear weapons.”
At the meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Council, Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and other ASEAN diplomats will confirm the observer status of Timor Leste in ASEAN and build a roadmap for Timor Leste to become an official member.
ASEAN Foreign Ministers will review the implementation of the 5-point agreement on Myanmar agreed by ASEAN leaders in April 2022, and discuss ways to improve the capacity and operational efficiency of ASEAN agencies and institutions.
Ambassador Nguyen Hai Bang said: “Vietnam initiated this matter during its ASEAN Chairmanship year and is currently working with ASEAN to implement it. The meeting will also discuss a number of issues in ASEAN's relations with partners and global and regional issues having direct impacts on ASEAN. Vietnam is tasked with proposing initiatives to build a common voice to bolster ASEAN unity and consolidate ASEAN’s international role and image.”
Since joining ASEAN, Vietnam has been a proactive and responsible member. This year and next year will be a time for ASEAN to build a post-2025 ASEAN Vision for development after 2 decades of the ASEAN Charter.