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Full remarks by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at 38th ASEAN Summit

VGP - Below is translation of the remarks by Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at the 38th ASEAN Summit held virtually on September 26.

October 31, 2021 10:37 PM GMT+7

Your Majesty,


Ladies and gentlemen,

I wish to join my ASEAN colleagues to warmly welcome Prime Minister of Laos H.E. Phankham Viphavan and Prime Minister of Malaysia H.E. Ismail Sabri Yaakob to our ASEAN Summit for the first time.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year, under the able leadership of Brunei Darussalam as the ASEAN Chair, we have strived to affirm ASEAN’s capability and stature, maintain the ASEAN Community building process, and step up cooperation in responding to emerging challenges.

Building upon your inputs, I wish to emphasize two important points for ASEAN to focus on in the time to come:        

First, over the past two years, the world has been struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. While we await the day that the pandemic is completely eradicated, at present, we need to safely and flexibly adapt to the new normal, and stand united to contain the pandemic as we all know that no individual is safe when others are infected, and no country is safe when other countries in the region and the world are still working to combat COVID-19. Given the rapid and unpredictable developments at the moment, we need to make adjustments in our approach to better manage changes. Thus, it is time for ASEAN to shift to a new strategy: safely adapting and flexibly responding to circumstances, and effectively containing COVID-19 while fostering recovery.

To this end, we need to enhance efficiency of coordination mechanisms, improve capacity of health systems, and ensure self-reliance on vaccines and medications. As one of the ASEAN countries that are striving to accelerate research and production of vaccines, Viet Nam looks forward to the expeditious transfer of vaccine and medication production technology to establish a self-reliant supply chain for the region. We can consider using the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund to support research, development and production of COVID-19 medications and vaccines. Let me take this opportunity to announce a list of medical equipment and supplies worth US$5 million that Viet Nam wishes to donate to the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies, to be delivered to countries in need.

Viet Nam believes that the people and businesses are both the focuses and actors in the efforts to contain the pandemic and foster recovery. While our policies revolve around them, they also need to make responsible contributions to this process. In the spirit of “harmonizing interest and together sharing risks”, we need to make every effort to address the challenges caused by the pandemic, and assist the people and businesses to soon resume their operations and regain stability for people’s life. The adopted ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework bears great significance, and should be effectively utilized to best facilitate essential travelling in the region. The Vietnamese Government has approved a set of criteria for the use of vaccine passports. We stand ready to discuss the mutual recognition of vaccine certificates, including digital ones, with other ASEAN countries.

Second, apart from sustaining past achievements, strengthening regional connectivity, and building the community, it is necessary to identify ASEAN’s new position in re-shaping global economic - political ties. The ASEAN Community needs to consolidate its role as the core of multilateral and multi-tier dialogue, cooperation, and economic integration in the region. To engage deeper in regional and global supply chains, increase the attractiveness of the ASEAN market and speed up post-pandemic economic recovery, a number of ASEAN’s previous competitive advantages, such as abundant human resources or cheap production cost, should be supplemented by novel factors, including digital transformation, green technology, renewable energy, and a high-quality workforce.

Such shortcomings as development gap or capacity to address transnational challenges need to be effectively managed, so as to prevent their impacts on ASEAN’s integration. To this end, I support the adoption and implementation of the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Upholding Multilateralism, the Consolidated Strategy on the 4th Industrial Revolution for ASEAN, the ASEAN SHIELD, and the ASEAN Joint Statement on Climate Change to the COP-26 UN Climate Change Conference.

Your Majesty,

Ladies and gentlemen,

With the aspiration to promote ASEAN’s role in fostering cooperation and harnessing the advantages and potentials for development in sub-regions, so as to ensure equitable and sustainable development within ASEAN, I wish to cordially invite all ASEAN members to attend and contribute to the ASEAN High-level Forum on Sub-Regional Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Inclusive Growth that Viet Nam is chairing on 30 November.

Let me also take this opportunity to gladly inform you all that the ASEAN flag has now joined Viet Nam’s national flag outside the headquarters of all governmental agencies since August 8, 2021. This is a testament to Viet Nam’s commitment to promoting the image and perception of the ASEAN Community among the people and international friends.

Once again, I wish to extend my congratulations to the ASEAN Chair, Brunei Darussalam, for having successfully led ASEAN through a year riddled with hardships. I also wish to affirm Viet Nam’s wholehearted support for the Kingdom of Cambodia as the 2022 ASEAN Chair.

Thank you.