ASEAN should stay cohesive and responsive in new normal period: Officials

Sunday, 2020-08-09 14:31:31
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Ambassador Tran Duc Binh, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to ASEAN. (Photo: VNA)
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NDO/VNA – Under Vietnam’s chairmanship, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has effectively implemented cooperation and connectivity targets, while overcoming difficulties to earn initial successes in preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, and embarking on efforts for post-pandemic recovery, said Ambassador Tran Duc Binh, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to ASEAN.

The ambassador was addressing an online seminar on the theme of cohesive and responsive ASEAN in the new normal period, which was held in Jakarta on August 8 as part of activities to mark the bloc’s 53rd founding anniversary.

Binh held that the way ASEAN has coped with the pandemic showed a cohesive and responsive association with resilience against hardships. “More than ever before, we understand the significance of ‘think community, act community’,” Binh stressed.

ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General for Socio-Cultural Community Kung Phoak recalled the utmost goal of the ASEAN Community is to support people. He said that one of the greatest challenges facing the association is impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihoods of people.

He noted that the pandemic started as a health crisis that has rapidly turned into a socio-economic crisis and even a security crisis to some extent. A scenario drawn by the World Bank showed that the world economy will decline 5 percent this year, pushing 71 million people into extreme hunger and poverty.

Dr. Yang Mee Eng, Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation, held that the COVID-19 pandemic is posing socio-economic challenges and causing subsequent adverse impacts.

She held that investment in public health, social welfare and economic stimulus is necessary for countries to gain quicker recovery.

Alongside, speeding up digital transformation is also among solutions to ensure that ASEAN always stays cohesive and responsive in the new normal period, she said.

Dr Yang underlined that a single country could not overcome this unprecedented period by itself and the crisis requires strong solidarity and cooperation in the global scale.

Normal methods are not enough, she stated, adding that cooperation and coordination are among important measures to help ASEAN to become stronger than ever, she added.