“Amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, ASEAN chair Vietnam has managed to formulate a regional comprehensive economic recovery plan,” the article said.

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc attends the 21st ASEAN – Japan Summit. (Photo: SGGP)

Contributions to cooperation expansion process

According to New Straits Times, “Vietnam had made significant contributions to ASEAN since joining the fold on July 28, 1995, in terms of ensuring regional peace and stability, promoting intra-bloc cooperation and providing more opportunities for investment and economic growth. And over the past decades, Vietnam had emerged as an active and responsible member, wielding enormous influence upon ASEAN's structure, while contributing to maintaining unity, peace and security in the region.”

The article also highlighted Vietnam’s milestones since its admission to ASEAN, including its successful organization of the 6th ASEAN Summit in 1998, just three years after becoming a bloc member. “The 'Hanoi Action Programme' at the summit helped maintain cooperation and strengthen ASEAN's position during the challenging times of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.”

“Vietnam also achieved successes as the ASEAN Standing Committee chairman in 2001 and as ASEAN President in 2010,” the article went on to say. “Both positions helped promote the enforcement culture and looked towards a great leap forward in establishing an ASEAN Community by 2015, thus, enhancing the bloc's international role and position.”

Pointing out other achievements, the article mentioned “Vietnam's constant support for the expansion of ASEAN's cooperation with the East Asia high-level cooperation mechanism with the participation of Russia and the United States, the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting, and for ASEAN to be represented at the G20 Summit.”

“Then there are the ‘Vision 2020 and implementation plans’, ‘ASEAN Declaration 2’, ‘ASEAN Charter’, ‘Roadmap for the ASEAN Community Development (2009-2015)’, ‘Initiative for ASEAN Integration’ and the ‘ASEAN Master Plan and Connection’.”

The article quoted former Singapore Ambassador to Vietnam Teck Hean commenting: “Vietnam was a dynamic country with economic growth. It is faster than many countries in the region. That development has helped Vietnam to strengthen its position in the regional and international schools. That also allows us to understand that the ASEAN Community cannot form and develop comprehensively without Vietnam.”

Active role

Sharing the same comments, Dr. Balaz Szanto from Webster University Thailand, said Vietnam has been playing an active role in building a common community in ASEAN since it became a member of the bloc and has increased its stature in recent years. According to Dr. Balaz Szanto, Vietnam will continue to demonstrate its guiding role at the regional forum, including in promoting a unanimous view regarding emerging regional issues.

He noted that 2020 is full of challenges for the world and the region, with many emerging problems such as the COVID-19 pandemic and disruptions to developed economies, so Vietnam’s chairmanship of ASEAN this year is also full of difficulties. However, he believes that as the ASEAN Chair in 2020, Vietnam will create a mechanism for promoting common prosperity among member nations so that no one is left behind.

Meanwhile, head of the ASEAN Studies Program at Indonesia's Habibie Centre Ahmad Ibrahim Almutaqqi has confirmed that Vietnam is increasingly becoming a ‘poster-boy’ of what embracing ASEAN’s ideals and values can bring to the people. According to him, since joining ASEAN, Vietnam has integrated more intensively and extensively into the global economy, and opened itself up to free trade. He also stressed that the country now plays an important part in the global value chain./.

Compiled by BTA