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Diplomats highly value Vietnam’s flexibility as ASEAN Chair amid pandemic

Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Ha Kim Ngoc and diplomats of other ASEAN countries recently took part in the first teleconference of the ASEAN Committee in Washington DC (ACW).

At this session, chaired by Cambodian Ambassador and head of the ACW Chum Sounry, the ASEAN ambassadors and chargé d’affaires discussed the outcomes of the special ASEAN and ASEAN+3 summits on COVID-19 on April 14 and the special ASEAN-US foreign ministers’ meeting on the issue on April 23.

They thanked and congratulated Vietnam on its timely response, proactiveness and flexibility as the ASEAN Chair amidst the COVID-19 pandemic’s complex developments which have affected multiple aspects, including external activities.

The diplomats also highly valued Vietnam’s initiative to promote cooperation within ASEAN as well as between the bloc and partners, including the US, in coping with the pandemic.

Looking into the pandemic’s economic impact on the Southeast Asian region, they shared the view on an economic growth slowdown, stressing the importance of maintaining the connectivity in supply chains of food, medicine and medical supplies.

They also underlined the need for ASEAN to keep enhancing ties in the disease prevention and control, vaccine and medication development, and post-pandemic economic recovery, thereby helping to intensify the ASEAN-US strategic partnership.

At the meeting, Ambassador Ngoc updated participants about the initial encouraging outcomes of the Vietnamese Government’s anti-COVID-19 measures, noting that the test kits produced by Vietnam have been recognised by the World Health Organisation and European countries.

The diplomats highly valued Vietnam’s efforts to concurrently fight the pandemic in the country and assist other ASEAN nations with medical supplies. They also called on Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand to share the research outcomes on the vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease.

The Philippine ambassador appreciated Vietnam’s continuation of rice export and hoped that the country will maintain the activity to help ensure food security.

Participants also asked countries to issue notifications before applying new policies that may affect other members of the association./