Photo taken on June 26, 2020 shows a scene of the opening ceremony of the 36th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam. (Photo: Xinhua)
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Friday opened its 36th summit, which is chaired by Vietnam via video conference, focusing on COVID-19 response, post-pandemic recovery and further cooperation with partners.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the summit, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said he expected the summit to be an opportunity to "once again affirm the strong solidarity, political will, and determination of ASEAN member countries to overcome difficulties, to determinedly head forward."
Noting that the ASEAN countries have engaged in "active information and experience sharing and coordination in disease control," Phuc said the bloc needs to continue to effectively control the COVID-19 epidemic and overcome the consequences of the epidemic while recovering and keeping on economic development. He called for continued efforts to complete the bloc's cooperation and integration goals in 2020.
He said the ASEAN will constantly expand and deepen equal and mutually beneficial cooperation with partners. "We are strongly committed to economic liberalization and integration, striving to complete the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)."
With the theme "Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN," the summit will discuss the regional comprehensive post-pandemic recovery plans, implement initiatives including establishing the ASEAN COVID-19 response fund, setting up a reserve for medical supplies to meet urgent needs during epidemics, building the ASEAN standard procedures of epidemic response in case of health emergency, according to the Vietnamese prime minister.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the 36th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, June 26, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
The ASEAN leaders will also conduct the mid-term review of the implementation of the blueprints under the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, provide feedback on a post-2025 ASEAN Community Vision, and improve the efficiency of ASEAN work by evaluating the enforcement of the ASEAN Charter, he said.
Established in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The 36th ASEAN summit had been scheduled for April in central Vietnam's Da Nang but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.