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PM, NA Chairwoman attend ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with AIPA Representatives

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan attended the ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Representatives of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) as part of the virtual 36th ASEAN Summit on June 26.

PM Phuc, who is also Chair of ASEAN 2020, affirmed that the event reflects the close collaboration between governments and parliaments of ASEAN member states in the process of building the ASEAN Community.

Accompanying the development of the ASEAN over the past four decades, the AIPA has upheld its important role in harmonising laws among nations and creating favourable conditions for the full and effective implementation of policies by regional governments, he said.

In the spirit of the ASEAN Year 2020 theme “Cohesive and Responsive”, the PM affirmed that ASEAN countries stay united to realise the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, towards a connected and cohesive ASEAN Community that upholds its central role in the evolving regional architecture and actively adapts with opportunities and challenges.

As the region and the world are facing unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the bloc convened the ASEAN Special Summit and ASEAN+3 Special Summit on COVID-19. The Vietnamese leader said the ASEAN has proved its strong will, taken comprehensive and synchronous approach, pooled public involvement, and forged collaboration at national and regional levels to turn challenges into opportunities for sustainable development.

The PM thanked the AIPA for promptly supporting the adoption of measures and policies by regional nations in the fight against COVID-19, and wished that the dialogue will help deepen links between governments and parliaments of the ASEAN member states, contributing to realising the people-oriented and people-centred ASEAN Community.

In her capacity as Chair of the 41st General Assembly of the AIPA (AIPA-41), Ngan expressed her belief that with the determination and strong will, ASEAN people will push back the pandemic, restore socio-economic activities to achieve the ASEAN Vision 2025.

TheAIPA highly evaluated the grouping’s common efforts to effectively cope with unprecedented challenges caused by COVID-19, pledged to continue partnering with ASEAN governments to combat the pandemic, improve the national capacity of contingency response to ensure people’s lives and safety, thus maintaining stability for regional development, she said.

Ngan said leaders of the ASEAN parliaments highly valued the theme of ASEAN Year 2020 “Cohesive and Responsive” that suits its desire to build ASEAN into a common home of independent, dynamic, united and developed nations in Southeast Asia so that the ASEAN will raise increasingly important voices in the evolving architecture in the region and the world.

She added that the AIPA wants to conduct more exchanges with ASEAN at all levels to raise public awareness of the bloc and harmonise laws in the grouping and make new progress for the common goal of building the ASEAN Community.

On the political-security front, Ngan said the AIPA needs to continue strengthening cooperation to ensure transparency, openness and law-based approach. The AIPA parliaments highlight the importance of peace, stability, security, maritime and aviation safety and freedom in the East Sea, as well as the promotion of trust building.

The top legislator highlighted the need to exercise self-restraint, prevent acts that could complicate the situation, settle disputes via peaceful measures in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). She suggested enhancing practical coordination between the AIPA and ASEAN, upholding partnership in regional connectivity and improving the capacity of ASEAN countries in coping with non-traditional security issues.

In order to build an inclusive and self-resilient ASEAN Economic Community, she said the AIPA members commit to working closely together to build policies for circular economic development, renewable energy, innovation, thus adapting to the fourth industrial revolution.

According to the Chairwoman, they will prioritise efforts to soon sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), promote sustainable development in the ASEAN Community, continue expanding the ASEAN Smart Cities Network and reinforcing public health system.

In the immediate future, she suggested that the ASEAN should focus on economic recovery following COVID-19, opening trade and investment markets, connect with global supply chains, ensure food security, improve access to medicines and medical equipment at reasonable prices, boost the development of industries with intellectuals and digital economy, contributing to enhancing resilience of regional and global economies in the face of pandemics.

About socio-culture, Ngan said the AIPA encourages the improvement of the role of women, children and the elderly in carrying out socio-economic development policies, hails ASEAN efforts to promote gender equality and women empowerment in 2020.

The leader called on the AIPA members to raise their sense of responsibility for coordinating with ASEAN governments to deliver on commitments in important areas, including human resources and sustainable development, and plastic waste prevention.

She suggested promptly issuing policies on education, unemployment, public health system, including improving access to vaccines and necessities for vulnerable groups and those hit by COVID-19, helping to strengthen regional resilience.

The NA Chairwoman urged enhancing the involvement of AIPA young parliamentarians, towards the establishment of AIPA Young Parliamentarians’ Forum and exchanging with ASEAN Youth Forum.

The AIPA calls on ASEAN member states to further strengthen the spirit of friendship, cooperation, responsibility and respect of diversity in the bloc while expanding sustainable tourism development.

In order to build a more prosperous, sustainable, cohesive and responsive community, the AIPA and ASEAN need to deepen their partnership. With the common determination and mutual trust, the ASEAN will weather every difficulty and enter a new path for bright development, she said./.