ASEAN seeks China's active participation in Covid-19 fight

By Phuong Vu   September 9, 2020 | 07:28 pm PT
ASEAN seeks China's active participation in Covid-19 fight
A medical staff waits to take samples for Covid-19 tests in Hanoi, April 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
ASEAN and China discussed their cooperation in the fight against Covid-19 and a number of other issues at a minister-level summit held online on Wednesday.

Speaking at the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting under the aegis of the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting, ministers of member countries emphasized China's role as the bloc’s biggest trading partner and one of the largest sources of tourists to the bloc.

China should proactively take part in the bloc’s initiatives such as the ASEAN Fund to respond to Covid-19, the medical materials stockpile and developing an overall recovery framework, a statement from the Vietnamese Foreign Affairs Ministry quoted them as saying.

They hailed the two-way initiatives launched so far this year, including the China-ASEAN Year of Digital Economy Cooperation, the ASEAN-China Joint Statement on synergizing the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity and the Belt and Road Initiative to guarantee connectivity and supply chains.

The two sides agreed to continue their cooperation in priority areas such as digital economic development, cybersecurity, maritime issues, disaster response, and people-to-people links and soon complete the ASEAN-China Plan of Action for 2021 – 25.

The ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting is held on September 9, 2020. Photo by AFP.

The ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting is held on September 9, 2020. Photo by AFP.

Representing Vietnam at the meeting was Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Pham Binh Minh.

He co-chaired the 21st ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers Meeting with South Korea, China and Japan as well as the ASEAN - Japan Foreign Ministers Meeting.

He sought Japan’s support for the establishment of the ASEAN center for public health emergencies and epidemics in 2020. Japan is the bloc’s fourth largest trading partner and third largest foreign investor.

ASEAN also hailed South Korea’s support for the response to Covid-19 such as a commitment to provide $1 million to the ASEAN Fund and donating $5 million worth of medical equipment and supplies to member nations.

Its members wanted South Korea, as one of leading nations in terms of the digital economy and innovation, to give ASEAN a helping hand with digital transformation, adopting new technologies, strengthening connections, and taking advantage of opportunities arising from the fourth industrial revolution.

Covid-19 has affected more than 200 countries and territories, which have reported 28 million cases and nearly 908,000 deaths so far.

In Southeast Asia, the Philippines is the worst affected nation with more than 245,000 cases and almost 4,000 deaths, followed by Indonesia with more than 203,000 cases and more than 8,300 deaths.

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