ASEAN strengthens intra-bloc to overcome challenges

(VOVWORLD) - The 36th ASEAN Summit was held online on Friday presided Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc as the chairman of ASEAN 2020. 

While attending the summit via teleconference, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said that the world, including ASEAN countries are facing two major challenges, namely COVID-19 mitigation and its impact on social economy. He added the challenges were getting stronger due to the dynamic global situation, which was marked by rising competition or rivalry between major powers, pessimism towards multilateralism, and increasing violations against rule-based orders. He stressed the important role of ASEAN in managing these changes.

In his speech at the 36th ASEAN Summit, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said ASEAN should and must work together to counter geopolitical volatility by strengthening regionalism and the spirit of giving and sharing, as well as preserving ASEAN centrality in the regional architecture to avoid being forced to take sides. He also made 3 proposals to promote ASEAN in the post-COVID 19 period, including building a more connected ASEAN, promoting a stronger ASEAN and creating “an ASEAN with enhanced immunity”.

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said to bring the regional economy back to normal, ASEAN needs to further cooperate and promote its initiatives. It is necessary to safely lift the current intra-ASEAN restrictions on travel, and strengthen ASEAN Centrality and unity.

Meanwhile, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen spoke highly of Vietnam’s role as ASEAN Chair. He said ASEAN is exerting efforts to promote community building and solidarity in multilateral framework while the global crisis is affecting ASEAN countries. He added Cambodia paid much attention to maintaining and promoting peace, security, and prosperity in the East Sea. The latest developments in the East Sea shows the importance of soon completing the Code of Conducts in the East Sea. He said the relevant parties need to show restraint and use peaceful measures in line with the international laws, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi said this is the first time after 23 years that ASEAN economy has been seriously affected by a pandemic. But, ASEAN has been successfully contained it thanks to its quick response and coordination in the bloc to deal with the situation.

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