Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has called on ASEAN member states to stay united and be more determined in taking actions in the spirit of "cohesion and proactive response" to respond to the pandemic
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc gives a speech at the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Special Summit on COVID-19 Response
Speaking in his capacity as Chairman of ASEAN on April 14, PM Phuc delivered the opening speech of the online special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19 Response which saw every ASEAN leader take part.
The Vietnamese government leader welcomed the presence of each ASEAN leader, especially Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Haji Mohd Yassin who was making his debut at an ASEAN Summit.
PM Phuc highlighted the importance of the summit being held in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic spreading both regionally and globally. Every ASEAN member state is in the process of stepping up their efforts to prevent the swift spread of the pandemic which has so far negatively affected the lives of citizens throughout the region and hampered socio-economic development, especially within the service sector which accounts for 30% of ASEAN’s GDP.
Throughout his speech the PM hailed the solidarity shown by the ASEAN Community to overcome difficulties during this challenging period. This was demonstrated through the ASEAN Chair’s Statement on February 14 which noted the bloc’s unity in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. Most notably, there has been a particular focus by ASEAN members to increase co-operation in health care, national defence, economics, tourism, information sharing, providing essential supplies and medical equipment, and supporting citizens affected by the pandemic.
“ASEAN's efforts have obtained encouraging results in disease control, with only 15,000 cases of infection out of 650 million ASEAN people still being at a much lower level than the global rate. We are more confident of the initial outcomes but must stay vigilant and stand shoulder to shoulder with full determination to take actions in the spirit “cohesion and proactive response” to combat the pandemic,” PM Phuc emphazised.
The PM also expressed his belief that the summit will serve as a platform in which to put forth a range of practical measures to overcome the COVID-19, stabilise the lives of citizens, and ensure sustainable development can resume.
After the opening speech delivered by PM Phuc, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, Chairman of ASEAN Coordinating Council, presented a report outlining ASEAN's efforts to respond to the COVID-19 and recommendations for future co-operation that can be taken up by ASEAN leaders.