HÀ NỘI — By successfully organising the teleconferenced 36th ASEAN Summit amid the complexities of COVID-19, Việt Nam has once again affirmed its proactive and responsible chairmanship of ASEAN in 2020, which is also the common assessment shared by many foreign leaders and experts.
With statements adopted, including the “ASEAN Leaders’ Vision Statement on A Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN: Rising Above Challenges and Sustaining Growth” and the “ASEAN Declaration on Human Resources Development for the Changing World of Work”, the 36th ASEAN Summit and related meetings wrapped up successfully on June 26 as the 10 member countries showed the unanimity to coordinate with one another to effective cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and promote socio-economic recovery in the region.
This is the first time a regular ASEAN summit has been held online during the 53-year history of the bloc.
ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi said the theme “cohesive and responsive ASEAN” for Việt Nam’s ASEAN Chairmanship this year suits the current context, and the 36th summit is a concrete demonstration of the bloc’s solidarity and leadership as seen in the strong regional cooperation.
He added that as ASEAN Chair, the country has done much and shown the strong leadership in guiding the region’s collective response to the pandemic. He also highly valued Việt Nam’s contributions, especially its assistance for some ASEAN members and dialogue partners in dealing with COVID-19.
Under Việt Nam’s guidance, activities have been carried out to set up the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, warehouses of medical supplies and standard operating procedures in public health emergencies. The country has also launched discussions on the post-2025 ASEAN Vision.
These will help ASEAN be better cohesive and responsive during the regional integration process while adapting to the current “new normal” status and learning important lessons, according to the Secretary-General.
Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith also spoke highly of ASEAN’s recent successes.
Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister of Laos Thongphane Savanphet said Việt Nam has fulfilled its role as ASEAN Chair over the past six months, and that despite numerous difficulties, Việt Nam has led ASEAN countries in boosting cooperation against COVID-19 and in other activities. He expressed his belief that under Việt Nam’s chairmanship, the bloc will continue to successfully carry out the initiatives and agreements its members have put forth this year.
Echoing the view, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said this ASEAN summit reflected Việt Nam’s capacity in guiding the bloc, regardless of difficulties caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Senior analyst Lê Thu Hương from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute said ASEAN members believe in Việt Nam’s diplomatic capacity, even when the summit had to take place online.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Ibrahim Almutaqqi, Director of the ASEAN Studies Programme at Indonesia’s Habibie Centre, said the summit discussed not only measures to deal with COVID-19 but also those for post-pandemic economic recovery. It was also an opportunity for ASEAN, under the guidance of Việt Nam as ASEAN Chair, to continue moving forward.
According to him, COVID-19 has disrupted the bloc’s activities at a certain level, but Việt Nam has done its job well and strived to ensure the proper functioning of ASEAN, including in organising high-level meetings.
Prof. Aleksius Jemadu, another Indonesian scholar, said Việt Nam has played its role well in guiding ASEAN member states to maintain the grouping’s central role and solidarity to sustain regional stability.
He believed Việt Nam is in the best position to uphold the role of ASEAN leadership in this decisive time, adding that all ASEAN countries expect Việt Nam to effectively play its role in uniting ASEAN and prioritising the promotion of ASEAN’s centrality during its chairmanship of the bloc.
Talking about the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Chheang Vannarith, President of the Phnom Penh-based Asian Vision Institute, said during its ASEAN Chairmanship this year, Việt Nam has been effectively coordinating and promoting negotiations on the RCEP so as to reach consensus and finalise the talks although India opted out of the deal at the last minute.
The 36th ASEAN Summit and the earlier Special ASEAN Summit and ASEAN+3 Summit on COVID-19 response, held in April, are highlights of Việt Nam’s chairmanship of the bloc.
The country has shown its activeness, proactiveness and sense of responsibility in guiding ASEAN to cope with unprecedented challenges, thereby helping to strengthen solidarity and unanimity of the grouping. These are also favourable prerequisites for it to fulfill its chairmanship role for the rest of 2020. —
UN Human Rights Council talks about rights of people with disabilities amid climate change
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) looked into the rights of people with disabilities in the context of climate change during its 44th session in Geneva on July 8.
Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, head of the Vietnamese mission in Geneva
This is an initiative from Vietnam, the Philippines, and Bangladesh, who co-authored the council’s annual resolution on climate change and human rights.
Delegates shared views on the adverse and unequal impact of climate change on human rights, especially people with disabilities – the most vulnerable group in a crisis like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The majority of those with disabilities live in poverty and this is one of the key components affecting the exposure of persons with disabilities to the impacts of climate change. Others are discrimination and stigma.
Intersecting factors related to gender, age, ethnicity, geography, migration, religion and sex can put persons with disabilities at even higher risk, they said.
They proposed integrating the rights of disabled people into the compilation and implementation of policies and initiatives against climate change, thus ensuring their voice is heard in these processes.
On behalf of ASEAN, Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, head of the Vietnamese mission in Geneva, told the meeting about the bloc’s efforts in and commitment to fighting climate change.
She said protecting and promoting the rights of people with disabilities is a persistent priority of ASEAN, as reflected through the ASEAN Vision 2025 and the 2025 ASEAN Enabling Masterplan on Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
ASEAN always attaches importance to international cooperation on climate change response and hopes that countries will make strong financial commitments to this in 2020.
ASEAN also hopes that the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the UN Framework Conference on Climate Change in Glasgow in 2021 will be a success.
Vietnam, the Philippines, and Bangladesh plan to introduce a resolution on human rights and climate change, focusing on the rights of the elderly, to the council during the meeting for consideration./.VNA
Vietnam expects Japan to continue leading role in multilateral trading system
Vietnam expects that Japan will continue to play a leading role in strengthening the multilateral trading system, facilitating trade and investment, and contributing to regional and global development and prosperity,
said Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, head of the Permanent Mission of Vietnam to the UN, WTO and other international organisations in Geneva.
Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, head of the Permanent Mission of Vietnam to the UN, WTO and other international organisations in Geneva
Speaking at Japan’s 14th Trade Policy Review session at the WTO headquarter in Geneva, Switzerland, from July 6-8, Mai said Vietnam highly valued Japan’s role in the global economy, in the Asia-Pacific region and for Vietnam, and welcomed Japan as one of the important members in the rules-based multilateral trading system.
While highlighting the fruitful development of trade and investment relations between Vietnam and Japan, the ambassador affirmed that Japan has been one of Vietnam’s leading trade and investment partners over the past decade.
In 2008, the two countries signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement – the first comprehensive free trade agreement of Vietnam, she added.
New-generation free trade agreements that both Vietnam and Japan are joining such as the ASEAN-Japan Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), as well as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that the two sides are joining negotiations, are paving the way for the two countries to step up cooperative relations, contributing significantly to bilateral trade and investment ties, and their cooperation in other areas such as sustainable development, she stated.
According to the ambassador, Japan has actively participated in and promoted commitments to trade and investment liberalisation in the WTO and other forums such as the Group of Seven (G7), the group of world leading developing and emerging economies (G20), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC), and other regional mechanisms to address challenges to global trade.
The 14th Trade Policy Review session provided an opportunity for WTO members to comprehensively examine economic, trade and investment policies of Japan – one of the world’s largest commodity and service economies.
Most of the WTO members said Japan’s trade and investment policies are opening and transparent, and the country is one of the members playing an important role in the global trading system. The country has contributed to supporting and defending the rule-based multilateral trading system, promoting trade and investment liberalisation, and strengthening the role of the WTO./.VNA
Vietnam, US leaders exchange congratulations on diplomatic ties
HANOI – Leaders of Vietnam and the US have exchanged congratulations on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two countries (July 12).
In his congratulatory letter to US President Donald Trump, Party General Secretary and State President Nguyễn Phú Trọng noted that the US is Vietnam’s leading partner in various areas. In recent years, the two countries have coordinated to address bottlenecks, particularly in trade and finance, thereby consolidating and expanding the comprehensive partnership based on respect for the UN Charter, international law and each others’ political institutions, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Trọng expressed his belief that the Vietnam-US comprehensive partnership would be strengthened in an effective and sustainable manner, benefiting peoples of both nations and contributing to security, peace and prosperity in the region and the world.
Meanwhile, President Trump affirmed the United States’ commitment to enhancing and expanding bilateral ties based on a shared vision of a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific and respect for each other’s sovereignty.
The United States also reaffirmed it would stand alongside Việt Nam in support of the peaceful resolution of disputes, the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, and unimpeded commerce.
On the occasion, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc exchanged a message of congratulations with President Trump.
Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân also exchanged congratulations with President of the Senate Michael Pence and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh sent a congratulatory message to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.
The US also congratulated Việt Nam on an outstanding year as the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and announced that the two countries have reached an agreement that would bring Peace Corps volunteers to Việt Nam.
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