ASEAN+3 countries vow to beef up cooperation amidst COVID-19
22:00 | 14/11/2020
VGP - Leaders from ASEAN countries, the Republic of Korea (RoK), Japan and China shared the view on the need to enhance their cooperation in the COVID-19 fight and economic recovery, during the 23rd virtual ASEAN Plus Three Summit on November 14.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc addresses the 23rd virtual ASEAN Plus Three Summit on November 14, 2020. Photo: VGP

Addressing the summit, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the experience in coping with crises has become the strength of ASEAN+3 cooperation over the past more than two decades.

Given the unprecedented challenges caused by COVID-19, the countries have carried forward the strength to promptly handle the impact of the pandemic, he went on.

The PM recalled the Special ASEAN+3 Summit on COVID-19 in April, during which the leaders affirmed their resolve at the highest level to reinforce coordination in combating the disease, ensuring lives and health of people, and reviving the economy.

In his remarks, RoK President Moon Jae-in said APT cooperation has become a model of international cooperation as they work in solidarity to battle against COVID-19.

The ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund and the Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies are meaningful outcomes that the countries have attained together, according to Moon.  

The ideas the countries discussed at the Special ASEAN+3 Summit on COVID-19 in April are developing into tangible achievements.

Leaders to the 23rd ASEAN Plus Three Summit. Photo: VGP
The RoK leader expressed his hope that essential business travel will expand further to the extent that it does not undermine disease control efforts as COVID-19 persists longer than anticipated.

He suggested the countries upgrade cooperation in the area of public health and work towards the development and equitable supply of vaccines and treatments, saying it is a must to establish a timely and transparent coordination mechanism to prepare against new infectious diseases which can strike at any time.

On the economic front, he said the countries need to prepare for the post COVID-19 era. The global economy is projected to recover to the pre-pandemic level by next year. But the speed of this recovery will be very uneven among countries.

He pointed to the wave of trade protectionism and uncertainties in the financial markets. There are concerns that an accelerated transition to a digital economy could widen the gap between social classes and no country can solve these challenges on its own.

The countries must work to strengthen the resilience of the economies and identify measures for inclusive, sustainable growth. To that end, they must pull that wisdom and cooperate with one another.

He hoped that ASEAN Plus Three could become the hope for the global economy and the post COVID-19 era.

Japanese PM Suga Yoshihide said the APT Summit has contributed to cooperation among countries in overcoming challenges.

The Special ASEAN+3 Summit on COVID-19, held in April, is an evidence of the efforts by countries in the region to work together to overcome crises and defeat challenges.

He pledged to provide more support so that the ASEAN Center for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases, whose establishment was announced two days ago, will develop into a body that protects the lives of the people of ASEAN from such health threats.

Japan will provide over US$200 million worth of assistance to secure medical supplies and equipment as well as technical assistance to research institutes, the PM said.  

On economic revitalisation, Japan has provided a total of US$2.5 billion in budget support loans to the countries upon their request, he stressed.

Investment in the private sector is also expanding, he said, adding that the ASEAN-Japan Economic Resilience Action Plan was adopted, under which, support is rendered to build resilient supply chains and promote the digitalisation of the industry.

Based on collaboration between Japan, China and the RoK, a contribution of US$300,000 has been made from the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Fund to the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund.

In addition, Japan has made a decision to make its own contribution of US$1 million, he said.  

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the economic integration in East Asia is confronted with multiple challenges, recalling the Special ASEAN+3 Summit on COVID-19 held last April, during which the leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation in response to the coronavirus, open markets to each other, and keep industrial and supply chains stable.

Over the past six months, all the parties have been acting actively implement the outcomes of that summit. Some international institutions have been projected or recognised in responding to COVID-19, he continued.

The measures taken by East Asian countries and the experience they have accumulated are inspirations to other countries.

He thanked ASEAN countries for their understanding and support to China in the pandemic fight, particularly in the most difficult stage in the combat.

The Chinese leader expressed his belief that the countries could work together to mitigate the pandemic and reopen the economy, thus opening up a bright prospect of peace, development and prosperity for the region./. VNA


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