ASEAN officials discuss preparations for upcoming activities hinh anh 1Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung chairs Joint Consultation Meeting (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Deputy Foreign Minister and head of the SOM ASEAN Vietnam Nguyen Quoc Dung chaired the ASEAN Senior Officials' Preparatory Meeting (Prep-SOM), the second meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) Working Group on Public Health Emergencies (ACCWG-PHE) and the Joint Consultation Meeting in Hanoi on June 22.

The online meetings were meant to prepare for the 36th ASEAN Summit and ministerial meetings slated for June 24-26, with ASEAN senior officials in the pillars of politics-security, socio-culture and economy, health officials and heads of permanent representative delegations to ASEAN taking part.

Representing Vietnam as ASEAN Chair 2020, Deputy FM Dung updated participants on agendas of meetings and a list of documents scheduled for ratification at the ASEAN Summit. 

ASEAN officials spoke highly of Vietnam’s preparations for the meetings, saying that under the country’s directions, such meetings will be a success.

They stressed that despite difficulties caused by COVID-19, the bloc will stay consistent with its goals and principles, striving for a united and open ASEAN Community with rules-based regional architecture.

Dung updated the gathering on progress in launching priorities and initiatives during Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship Year 2020. He also reaffirmed ASEAN’s cooperative spirit, close coordination with partners in the fight against COVID-19, and post-pandemic recovery. 

Amid the current situation, he highlighted the need to raise a sense of responsibility, maintain peace and stability, and prevent unilateral action that could further complicate the situation, towards successfully curbing the pandemic.

Discussing the implementation of the outcomes of the ASEAN Special Summit and ASEAN 3 Special Summit on COVID-19 Response at the ACCWG-PHE’s second meeting, the bloc agreed to step up the progress of four initiatives, including the ASEAN Response Fund for COVID-19, the ASEAN Reserve on medical supplies, emergency response guidelines, and post-COVID-19 recovery plan.

Officials called on ASEAN to focus on curbing the spread of COVID-19 and improving prevention capacity to better cope with medical contingencies in the future.

Dung shared his concern over the second wave of the coronavirus and urged countries to work more closely together to resume activities, especially for vulnerable groups, small and medium-sized enterprises, among others./.