| Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong (middle), Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan attends the opening ceremony of the 37th ASEAN Summit. (Photo: VGP)
In his welcoming remarks, Party General Secretary and State President Trong said COVID-19 has turned the world upside down and pushed back socio-economic achievements built up over decades. More than ever, countries around the world need peace, cooperation, and development and people need care, protection, and sharing to make it through this difficult time.
The Party leader praised ASEAN for its leading role in pandemic response while maintaining its working agenda and its status globally. Mr. Trong outlined ASEAN’s future tasks, “Establishing a suitable foothold for ASEAN in the post-pandemic world is a major matter. The strong wish and will to maintain a peaceful, stable and united region in line with international law should continue to be a core value of Southeast Asia and the ASEAN Community. In the new context, ASEAN countries need to display courage, strong coordination, and new methods to fulfill their initiatives and recovery plans.”
Party General Secretary and State President Trong emphasized Vietnam’s unswerving diplomatic policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralism, and diversification of external relations. Vietnam will always be a trustworthy friend and partner and an active and responsible member of the international community, who has been striving for peace, cooperation, and development.
As ASEAN Chair for 2020, themed “Cohesive and Responsive”, Vietnam treasures the solidarity and valuable support of other ASEAN members, partners, and friends to build an ASEAN community strong enough to overcome any challenge and maintain its connectivity.
| Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong delivers his welcoming remarks. (Photo: baoquocte.vn)
In his opening speech, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc acknowledged ASEAN’s solidarity and quick response at the national and regional level to prevent the spread of the coronavirus from the early days of the pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has failed to hinder the building of the ASEAN Community. Cooperation in the three pillars has gone according to the schedule set in the master plan for ASEAN Community Vision 2025. To fulfill our dual mission of pandemic control and economic development, the Summit will adopt the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and detailed plans for all three pillars. We are weighing a safe travel solution for businesses and investors amidst the pandemic, first of all, opening a route for ASEAN citizens at border gates,” said Mr. Phuc.
Prime Minister Phuc lauded ASEAN’s consistent stance, principles, and commitment to make the East Sea (known internationally as the South China Sea) into an area of peace, stability, security and safety for the free circulation of goods in conformity with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The Prime Minister urged ASEAN to focus its efforts and resources on fighting the coronavirus, reviving production and business operations, generating jobs, and boosting people’s livelihood. ASEAN also needs to define its role, given the shifting economic and political power among countries and the adjustment to the global production and supply chain, he said.
| Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the 37th ASEAN Summit (Photo: baoquocte.vn)
The Summit will include a plenary session of the 37th ASEAN Summit, an official announcement of ASEAN Year 2020 results, Summits of ASEAN with China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and India, and the establishment of the ASEAN Center for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases.