|The flags of ASEAN and Vietnam at the headquarters of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Ministry. (Photo: Dau Tien Dat/ thanhnien.vn)
In the 55 years since its establishment ASEAN has grown stronger and played a central role among powerful countries and global organizations. Despite rising inflation, armed conflicts, and geopolitical competition around the world, ASEAN has been a bright spot in the global economy in the first half of this year, with some ASEAN countries seemingly immune from the global recession.
With multiple trans-regional trade agreements in force and an integrated strategy for the 4.0 Industrial Revolution, ASEAN is well-positioned to grow despite emerging geopolitical and economic challenges.
Mathias Cormann, Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), said that ASEAN is clearly a thriving region and is the 5th largest economy in the world with about 660 million people.
"ASEAN is able to advance its interests in a stable global market. I am optimistic that while many countries in the world may step back, the ASEAN economy is still showing many positive signs,” he said.
ASEAN’s position and role have steadily improved. Many world powers have hailed ASEAN’s central role and consider tightening ties with ASEAN a priority in their strategies. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that as the relationship between the United States and ASEAN continues to grow stronger, the United States continues to commit to ASEAN’s centrality. The US looks forward to establishing a strategic and comprehensive partnership with ASEAN, he said.
In 2021 ASEAN accepted the UK as its 11th dialogue partner and it will establish partnerships with more countries, like France and Italy. This expansion of partnerships shows that ASEAN has attracted interest from countries outside the region. At the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Cambodia, six more countries joined the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), bringing the total number of members to 49.
|Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attends the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summit and related meetings on October 26-28, 2021. (Photo: Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Vietnam accompanies ASEAN to elevate its international status
For 27 years Vietnam has played a key role in setting ASEAN’s goals and development orientations and making major decisions. Vietnam has always actively worked with ASEAN to realize a broader vision and larger scope and scale.
As the ASEAN Chair in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam advocated agendas, addressed the immediate impacts of the pandemic, and created a framework for long-term actions to help ASEAN recover sustainably, including the COVID-19 Response Fund, the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, the Center for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases.
ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi said that Vietnam is a very active member of ASEAN and has contributed to ASEAN’s regional integration journey and Community building.
"During Vietnam’s Chairmanship in 1998, 2010, and 2020 Vietnam has made a decisive leadership and steered the region forward. Vietnam has led ASEAN collective effort, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Chair of ASEAN in 2020. Vietnam has done a lot of good things for women, especially in policy making process and security for women. Over the last 27 years Vietnam has raised ASEAN profile in the international field.”
ASEAN has always been a top priority in Vietnam's external policy. A strong and resilient ASEAN Community will be a firm support for Vietnam to overcome difficulties and challenges.