RoK contributes additional US$5 million to ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund
VGP – Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on October 26 attended the 22nd ASEAN-Republic of Korea Summit via videoconference.
Leaders of ASEAN member states, President of the Republic of Korea (RoK) Moon Jae-in and the Secretary-General of ASEAN also participated in the event.
President Moon valued the importance of the strategic partnership with ASEAN, emphasizing that the bloc is a top priority in the RoK’s enhanced New Southern Policy (NSPP), and supporting ASEAN centrality in the regional architecture and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).
Moon reaffirmed the RoK’s continued support for ASEAN in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and announced additional contribution of US$5 million to the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund.
He also announced the ASEAN-RoK Initiative for Public Health and Vaccines, which is linked with the regular convening of the ASEAN-RoK Health Ministers’ Meeting, starting from this year.
ASEAN leaders noted with satisfaction the positive progress in the ASEAN-RoK relations, including the latter’s rise to become the 4th largest trading partner and the 5th largest investor of ASEAN. The ASEAN member states highly valued the RoK’s timely and effective support, including its contribution of over US$30 million to assisting ASEAN in curbing the COVID-19 pandemic right from its outbreak while providing technical assistance and improving health capacity for the ASEAN member states.
The two sides agreed to continue prioritizing cooperation in COVID-19 response, along with the promotion of comprehensive recovery towards sustainable development. Both sides reiterated the commitment to fully implement the ASEAN-RoK free trade agreement, as well as their efforts in promptly ratifying and implementing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), therby contributing to the furtherance of regional economic linkages.
The RoK asserted aspiration to work with ASEAN on measures to soon resume the exchange of people-to-people activities through such modalities as travel bubbles and mutual recognition of vaccine certification.
At the summit, leaders of ASEAN and the RoK agreed to adopt the Joint Statement on Advancing the ASEAN-RoK Cooperation for People-oriented and People-centered Community of Peace and Prosperity.
With regard to regional and international issues, the leaders emphasized the need to maintain a peaceful, secure and stable environment conducive to pandemic prevention and recovery efforts. The RoK voiced support for ASEAN’s principled position on the East Sea, welcomed ASEAN’s efforts towards enhanced cooperation, dialogue, confidence-building in the region.
The RoK also affirmed its support for full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and the conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea which is effective, substantive and consistent with international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Addressing the summit on behalf of ASEAN and as the ASEAN-RoK country coordinator, PM Pham affirmed that the ASEAN-RoK partnership has developed strongly over the past three decades and recorded various important and substantial achievements, actively contributing to peace, security, development and prosperity in the region.
Despite impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ASEAN-RoK strategic partnership has continued to advance remarkably in many aspects, including cooperation in politics, security, defense, economy, trade, culture, social affairs and coordinated pandemic response.
Pham proposed a number of priorities to broaden and deepen the ASEAN-RoK strategic partnership in the time to come. Accordingly, the two sides should continue stepping up their efforts to effectively control and repel the COVID-19 pandemic towards successful goal of forging cooperation for the people and prosperity while coordinating to form an autonomous supply chain for COVID-19 vaccines in the region.
PM Pham emphasized that people and businesses are both the stakeholders and beneficiaries in the fight against the pandemic and in economic recovery. He highly appreciated Korean enterprises and investors for having accompanied and shared difficulties with the governments and people in the region.
At the same time, Pham affirmed ASEAN’s strong commitment to create favorable conditions for the business community to sustain their stable production and business activities, and facilitate the protection of each side’s citizens.
Pham suggested the RoK bring into play its strength in digital technology and digital economy to assist ASEAN in digital transformation and sustainable development and narrowing the development gap, including through the Mekong-RoK partnership.
PM Pham shared the views expressed during the summit and emphasized that maintaining a peaceful, secure and stable environment in the region is the shared interest and responsibility of all countries. Given complicated and unpredictable changes in the region and international strategic environment, ASEAN and the RoK should work closely, uphold international law and regulations, and jointly consolidate and open and transparent regional architecture founded on mutual understanding, respect and win-win cooperation.
In that spirit, ASEAN and the RoK should continue coordinating and contributing responsibly to the efforts to address regional security challenges such as the East Sea and the Korean peninsula.
Pham stated that building upon the sound and long-standing bilateral relationship with the RoK, Viet Nam is committed to responsibly performing its role as the country coordinator of the ASEAN-RoK dialogue relations in the next three years, and actively working with ASEAN member states and the RoK to elevate the strategic partnership and the comprehensive and effective cooperation between the two sides, thus contributing to regional peace, stability and prosperity./.
By Huong Giang