|Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attends the ASEAN Summit, October 26, 2021. (Photo: VOV)
The 38th ASEAN Summit created opportunities for ASEAN leaders to exchange views on policies and deliberate decisions on key issues concerning ASEAN’s goals.
The meeting was an occasion for Vietnam to reflect on its external policy of independence, self-reliance, diversification and multilateralization, and comprehensive and extensive international integration.
Prime Minister Chinh said Vietnam wants to work with other ASEAN countries to overcome difficulties, maintain solidarity and unity within ASEAN, and continue efforts to build the ASEAN Community and promote regional connectivity. Vietnam also wants to respond effectively to emerging challenges and strengthen ASEAN’s centrality and international status.
"We need to change awareness to adapt flexibly and safely to the new normal, stay united to fight the pandemic. No one is safe when COVID-19 infections are still around, no country is safe if its people are still infected with COVID-19, no country is safe when other countries in the region and the world are still struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation is changing very fast, unprecedentedly requiring us to adapt to manage changes," said Mr. Chinh.
PM Chinh said it’s time for ASEAN to adopt a new strategy to safely adapt to, flexibly respond, and effectively contain the pandemic while promoting recovery. ASEAN needs to improve coordination mechanisms, the capacity of the health system, promote research on vaccines and treatment medicines, he said.
"As one of ASEAN countries that are accelerating vaccine research and production, Vietnam has proposed early transfer of production technology of vaccine and COVID-19 medicines, and establish self-reliant supply chain in the region. ASEAN can consider utilizing ASEAN’s COVID-19 Response Fund to research and produce medicines," he said.
Addressing the 39th ASEAN Summit the same day, Prime Minister Chinh expressed his wish for a regional environment of peace, security, stability and cooperation to fight the pandemic, recover, and develop.
The Vietnamese Prime Minister said solidarity was the core value and the strength of ASEAN in the last 54 years. He urged ASEAN to stay united and support Myanmar, whose people are struggling for life while coping with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. At this moment, the most important thing for ASEAN is to unite to address the major issues of the Community and enhance relations with partners ensuring the ASEAN Summits to be fruitful, he said.
In regard to the East Sea issue, Prime Minister Chinh said, "ASEAN needs to demonstrate its stance and self-reliant role in maintaining peace, security, and stability in the East Sea – the strategic waters embracing interests of regional countries."
"ASEAN needs to be persistent with its principal stance regarding the East Sea, strengthen commitments of countries to abide by international law, to show responsible behavior, refrain, and not to take actions to complicate the situation.”
PM Chinh said it’s crucial to boost cooperation on issues of shared interests including protection of the marine environment, addressing the illegal fishing issue, providing humanitarian aid to fishermen and sea commuters. It’s important to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and soon finalize the Code of Conduct in line with international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the law of the sea, he said.
Prime Minister Chinh proposed that ASEAN reach consensus on regional and global issues.