June 22-28: ASEAN member states cohesive and responsive in overcoming difficulties

Monday, 2020-06-29 12:59:03
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Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the plenary session of the 36th ASEAN Summit. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)
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NDO – Nhan Dan Online reviews the notable events that made headlines over the past week.

ASEAN member states cohesive and responsive in overcoming difficulties

The 36th ASEAN Summit, held via video conference under the chair of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in his capacity as ASEAN Chair 2020, has come to a productive conclusion. This was the first time ASEAN’s regular summit was held in the form of a video conference, due to the context of the global COVID-19 outbreak.

During the event, ASEAN leaders focused on discussing an array of issues, including controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and promoting economic recovery and intra-bloc cooperation; building a strong ASEAN Community according to set goals; expanding ASEAN’s external relations with its partners in the spirit of mutual respect, mutually beneficial cooperation, and upholding ASEAN’s central role in the region; pledging to maintain a peaceful and stable environment for cooperation, sustainable development and prosperity; and upholding the spirit of goodwill and compliance with international law in addressing regional differences. The conference adopted the ASEAN Leaders’ Vision Statement on a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN: Rising Above Challenges and Sustaining Growth. This is considered a guideline for ASEAN to be confident in its upcoming strategic steps.

Vietnam underlines importance of UN Charter on 75th anniversary

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has sent a message to the United Nations General Assembly on the 75th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter. In his message, the Vietnamese official highlighted the importance of the UN Charter, which sets out the fundamental principles of modern international relations, including the principles of sovereign equality, political independence, the territorial integrity of states, and the prohibition of threat or use of force.

With the signing of the charter, the UN was founded as a global organisation that could unite countries for peace and socio-economic progress, Minh said, adding that it has created an international cooperation framework with a magnitude never before seen in human history. He pledged that Vietnam will always abide by the charter and make efforts to strengthen multilateral cooperative mechanisms at both global and regional levels, especially in the UN and ASEAN.

ADB: Vietnam’s currency bonds post healthy growth amid COVID-19

Vietnam’s local currency bond market posted a healthy 9.5% quarter-on-quarter growth in the first quarter of 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest issue of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Asia Bond Monitor. In its report, issued on June 25, ADB said that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect local currency bond markets in the emerging East Asian region as investment sentiment wanes globally and in the region and containment measures limit economic activity.

As COVID-19 has been brought under control in Vietnam, the nation’s local currency bond market still posted a healthy 9.5% growth in the first quarter of 2020, reaching US$57.6 billion at the end of March. This can be attributed to a strong growth rate in the government bond segment, growing 10.5% quarter-on-quarter, reaching US$53.3 billion and accounting for 92.6% of the country’s total bond stocks. Corporate bonds, however, contracted 1.7% quarter-on-quarter, reaching US$4.2 billion by the end of March, mostly owing to the absence of new issuances over the review period.

Vietnam attracts US$15.67 billion in FDI in six months

Workers at an electronic spare parts manufacturing company (Illustrative image. Photo: VNA)

The total foreign direct investment (FDI) into Vietnam between the beginning of this year and June 20 reached US$15.67 billion, equivalent to 84.9% of the figure for same period last year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

There were 1,418 newly licenced projects during the Jan-June period, with registered capital of US$8.44 billion. There were 526 licenced projects from previous years registered as having adjusted their investment capital with additional capital of US$3.7 billion, up 26.8%. During the six-month period, 4,125 foreign investors contributed capital and purchased shares with a total value of nearly US$3.51 billion, up 2.6%.

Two Vietnamese universities win places in QS rankings

On June 24, UK educational organisation Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) announced that two Vietnamese universities have made it into the QS Top 50 Under 50 2021, which ranks the world’s best universities founded within the past 50 years. The Vietnam National University in Hanoi and Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City have placed in the 101-150 group.

This is the first time the Vietnam National University in Hanoi has entered the rankings. Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City was the only Vietnamese representative to make the QS Top 50 Under 50 last year.

Vietnam Family Festival 2020 opens in Hanoi

Delegates cut the ribbon to open the 2020 Vietnam Family Festival. (Photo: Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports)

The 2020 Vietnam Family Festival officially opened at the Vietnam Exhibition Centre for Culture and Arts in Hanoi on the evening of June 26, offering a host of activities to celebrate Vietnam Family Day (June 28).

Entitled “Preserve and promote cultural traditions and good behaviours within the family”, the three-day festival features an array of exhibitions and artistic events honouring the values of Vietnam’s family culture, including exhibitions on families in the cultural traditions of Vietnam’s ethnic groups and the role of women and mothers, alongside a book exhibition aiming to promote reading culture in building cohesion, love and sharing between family members.

Winners of UPU letter-writing contest announced

Close to 600,000 letters were sent from around Vietnam to the 49th holding of the Universal Postal Union (UPU)’s International Letter-Writing Competition, for children under the age of 15. The contest tasked students to “Write a message to an adult about the world we live in.” Contestants sent heart-wrenching letters on the pressing issues of today, such as COVID-19, environmental protection, and plastic pollution, or mulling over the concept of happiness and kindness in the modern world.

Many stories featured the true values of love, family, and friends in the digital era, and also the pressure children must bear these days, while others spoke out against domestic violence and dreamed of a better world for children. The first prize was awarded to Phan Hoang Phuong Nhi, a seventh-grader at Duy Tan Middle School in Hue City, the capital of the central province of Thua Thien Hue, in a ceremony held in Hanoi on June 26.

Vietnamese noodles named among Asia’s best by CNN Travel

“Cao lau” rice noodles are a specialty of Hoi An ancient town in central Vietnam. (Photo: VNA)

Three types of Vietnamese noodles found their place on a list of Asia’s best noodles put together by CNN Travel to provide a beginner’s guide to popular Asian noodles made from ingredients such as rice, starch, wheat, and vegetables.

“Pho” noodles are said to be a thinner version of flat noodles, made from rice and like luxurious silk bedding - slippery and comforting. “Bun”, meanwhile, are rice stick noodles worshipped for their slippery texture and mild fragrance. CNN Travel wrote that “bun” noodles are often served cold with grilled meat, herbs, and a diluted vinegary fish sauce for dipping in Vietnam. Last but not least, “Cao lau” rice noodles are a specialty of Hoi An Ancient Town in central Vietnam.