Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc addresses a special video conference with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), on the coronavirus disease, in Hanoi April 14, 2020. (Photo: VCG)
HANOI - At the virtual Special Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit on the COVID-19 on Tuesday morning, leaders of the 10 ASEAN member states affirmed that the block's current leading priority is controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and preventing it from spreading further.
The heads of state or government of the 10 ASEAN members, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and the ASEAN Secretary-General agreed that the countries should join hands with one another and with other nations to prevent the global pandemic from spreading further, with focus on preventing cross-border infections.
The leaders also stated that the ASEAN should pay due attention to taking measures to minimize the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19. The countries should forge closer coordination in protecting their citizens, providing social security services as well as economic stimulus and aid packages, and maintaining supply chains to protect people and assist small- and medium-sized enterprises.
The ASEAN leaders also touched upon mapping out plans to recover the economy in the post-pandemic period, including stepping up intra-block trade, speeding up negotiations and then finalizing economic cooperation deals, implementing economic stimulus packages, and enhancing the capability of coping with external shocks.
When the summit, the first of its kind held by the ASEAN in videoconferencing format with the participation of all leaders of the 10 ASEAN countries, wrapped up, they adopted the Declaration of the Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19, showing their political commitment about solidarity and cooperation within the regional grouping as well as with its partners.
The leaders affirmed that solidarity and cooperation is the strength which will help the nations win the war against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The virtual Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19 took place on Tuesday afternoon, with the participation of the state or government heads of the 10 ASEAN members, China, Japan and South Korea, the ASEAN Secretary-General and the World Health Organization Director-General.
They are expected to adopt a joint statement on COVID-19 response after sharing relevant practical experiences and discussing potential cooperation among ASEAN countries, as well as between the block and its three dialogue partners, especially cooperation on preventing and containing the global pandemic.
The two summits are taking place at a time when COVID-19 continues to strike many countries around the world, including ASEAN nations, posing a grave threat to human health and safety, while fueling worries about its huge impact on economy regionally and globally.