ASEAN forum on sub-regional development opens hinh anh 1Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh speaks at the opening ceremony. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
– ASEAN should prioritise the enhancement of connectivity, sustainable and inclusive development, and the improvement of its role in sub-region cooperation, including Mekong collaboration, Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh has said.

Anh made the suggestions while opening the ASEAN Forum on Sub-regional Development: Converging Mekong sub-regional cooperation with ASEAN goals that was held in the form of a teleconference in Hanoi on July 14.  

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung, who chaired the forum, stressed the strategic role of the Mekong sub-region, saying the development of a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Mekong region would help to consolidate ASEAN’s position in the regional architecture and build the ASEAN community.

The delegates looked into such issues as the role of sub-regional economic corridors in regional connectivity and economic links between ASEAN and partners, challenges to sustainable development and the role of development partners in sub-regional cooperation, among others.
They heard a report on the Mekong sub-region’s development by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).

According to the report, cooperation within the framework of the Mekong sub-region is the most successful initiative over the past three decades, which has greatly contributed to regional economic development and poverty reduction.

However, the Mekong region has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to overcome these challenges, these countries need to make changes to catch up with new global economic trends and better utilise scientific and technological advances, especially amidst the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the popularity of digital technology, the report said.

The institute suggested Mekong countries adjust policies with priorities given to connectivity, industrialisation, social welfare, and sustainable development.

In his closing remarks, Dung said Vietnam, as ASEAN Chair 2020, will continue its close coordination with other ASEAN member countries and partner countries to promote the multi-field, multi-partner, and multi-level approach, for a united, resilient and responsive ASEAN./.