Your Majesty, distinguished colleagues,
Your Honorable Mdm Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, President of AIPA-41,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I welcome you to the Closing Ceremony of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.
Being “Cohesive and responsive”, we have overcome the physical gap and difference in time zone and the format of engagement, and have had very effective working days. The leaders of ASEAN countries discussed and adopted a wide range of decisive and concrete measures to advance cooperation to respond to and triumph over the adversities facing ASEAN, including the COVID-19 pandemic, maintain the trajectory of cooperation, and chart new overall courses for the ASEAN Community towards greater development, so it would truly become the nucleus of the region, with the people at its heart.
At these Summits, we have also reached an agreement on various important elements to create a new driver for ASEAN relations with its partners and reaffirm its strong commitment to multilateral cooperation and economic connectivity and liberalization. We have shared our respective views on emerging regional and international issues. It is agreed that we must maintain and build upon ASEAN centrality, promote dialogue and cooperation, prevent conflicts, build confidence, and shape a regional architecture that is open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based.
Ladies and gentlemen,
2020 has been a truly challenging year. We had to contend with an enormous workload while the COVID-19 pandemic was unfolding in complex ways. After more than five decades of growth, ASEAN continues to bear testimony to the power of solidarity, resilience and adaptability against all adversities.
Numerous important decisions were adopted at the Summits
- The leaders of ASEAN countries adopted (i) the Mid-term Review of the ASEAN Community Blueprints 2025. We agreed on the necessity to (ii) review the implementation of the ASEAN Charter, and voiced our determination to promote subregional cooperation as an integral part of the ASEAN development process, so that all citizens and all localities are empowered to contribute to the community. The Summit also adopted the (iii) Hanoi Declaration on the ASEAN Community's post-2025 Vision, with the expectation that this would create a solid foundation for the road ahead of the ASEAN Community.
- With a view to an ASEAN Community with a rich identity, the leaders of ASEAN endorsed the flying of the ASEAN flag and the use of the ASEAN anthem; this will bring the image of ASEAN closer to the people and the public. On this occasion, the Leaders adopted the Narrative of ASEAN Identity and the Hanoi Declaration on Strengthening Social Work towards Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community. The first-ever ASEAN Women Leaders' Summit was a valuable opportunity for ASEAN women to make contributions to the efforts for sustainable development and growth in the region.
- Many ASEAN initiatives on cooperation in response to COVID-19 and other risks of epidemics have been announced and under way, such as the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergencies, and the ASEAN Center for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases. ASEAN also adopted the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and its Implementation Plan, designed for cohesion across the three Community pillars. This will assist the people and businesses to overcome the impacts of the pandemic and restore economic and social stability in our countries.
- In the ongoing effort to expand and deepen relations with its partners, ASEAN agreed to expand the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation to include Cuba, Colombia and South Africa. Now 43 countries are party to this Treaty. The 15th EAS also adopted important Declarations, including the Declaration on the 15th Anniversary of EAS and the Declaration of APT Leaders on Strengthening Economic and Financial Resilience in the Face of Emerging Challenges. This is once again a demonstration of the role and strength of APT as a framework in preventing and addressing risks of economic and financial crisis in the region. The conclusion of negotiation and official signing of the RCEP between ASEAN and its partners is a very admirable expression of the strong commitment and determination of the countries in the region in promoting economic liberalization and connectivity.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Being richly equipped with the experience of 2020 and the years before, ASEAN can now take confident steps into its sixth decades. This has been a long journey, both challenging and full of new, emerging opportunities. Let me take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to the ASEAN members and partners, international organizations, and other friends of ASEAN, for your keen support and close cooperation with Viet Nam in our term as the 2020 ASEAN Chair.
Let me also express my appreciation for the tireless efforts and contributions by both the ASEAN specialized bodies across the three pillars and at all levels and the ASEAN Secretariat. Your joint efforts have made possible the laudable outcomes of ASEAN in this year of great adversities. The silent efforts behind the scene by the specialized and technical staff is all the more significant, helping us prevail over the geographical distance to maintain the stable pace of ASEAN cooperation and discussion.
Above all, I thank you, the peoples of ASEAN member states. Your contribution, sympathy and support for our Governments have made it possible for us to overcome so many hardships and challenges and take a cohesive, resilient and confident ASEAN Community further ahead.
Finally, I thank you, my Vietnamese colleagues from our Ministries and agencies. You have worked alongside us around the clock to make our ASEAN Chairmanship a success.
Your Majesty, Ladies and gentlemen,
Viet Nam is fully confident that Brunei Darussalam, as the next ASEAN chair, will continue to lead ASEAN onwards and forge an ASEAN Community endowed with a vision for broad connectivity, active adaptability, comprehensive recovery, and sustainable development.
My best wishes go out to the 2021 ASEAN Chair, Brunei Darussalam.
I declare the closure of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Other Summits with its Partners.
Thank you. I wish you all health and happiness./.