During the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, held via video conference from November 12-15, participating leaders looked at practical matters, including necessary solutions to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

They also discussed measures to recover the regional economy in order to complete the dual tasks of containing the pandemic and maintaining production and business activities in the region, he said at a press conference following the closing ceremony of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (centre) speaks at the press conference (Photo: VNA)

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlighted the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement between 10 ASEAN member countries and five partners, which, he said, is significant to not only ASEAN but also global trade.

The countries also mulled over matters regarding security and peace in the region, especially maritime issues, with the aim of creating a better environment in line with international law.

Various initiatives have been raised to ensure that nobody is left behind, the PM said, adding that the countries agreed to double efforts to narrow the development gap in the region.

He talked about the ASEAN Women Leaders’ Summit that has been held for the first time with the participation of female leaders in the region and across the world, aiming to promote the role and contributions of women to the post-pandemic world.

During the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN member countries and partners shared the view on ASEAN’s centrality in the region, he continued. 

At the 37th ASEAN Summit, leaders agreed on the urgent need to step up cooperation, protect peace and stability and respect laws in the post-COVID-19 context.

They showed the determination to build the East Sea into a sea of peace, stability, friendship, cooperation, with freedom of navigation and aviation ensured, and consented that all activities at sea must be conducted in accordance with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The countries stressed the need to exercise self-restraint, seriously implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and soon reach an effective and efficient Code of Conduct in the Sea (COC) in line with international law and the 1982 UNCLOS.

The 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits have paved the way for ASEAN member countries and advanced cooperation between the group and partners, for peace and prosperity, he said.

Answering reporters’ queries on the impact of strategic competition between world powers on the intra-bloc solidarity, PM Phuc affirmed that ASEAN and Vietnam in particular hope for good relations between the powers to benefit peace, security, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

In the spirit of cohesiveness and responsiveness, Vietnam and ASEAN member countries have shared view points and actions, and worked together with partners for an open, transparent and rules-based region.

This has been reflected in ASEAN documents issued in 2020, he added./.

CPV (Source: VNA)