ASEAN senior officials gather in Da Nang hinh anh 1Delegates in a group photo (Photo: VNA)

Da Nang (VNA) –
The ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) took place in the central coastal city of Da Nang on March 4 with the participation of hundreds of senior officials from the 10 ASEAN member countries.

Vietnam’s Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of SOM Vietnam, chaired the event.

Participants discussed the implementation of outcomes gained at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in Nha Trang city, Vietnam’s Khanh Hoa province in January, and the initial preparation for the 36th ASEAN Summit and relevant events to be held in Da Nang on April 8-9.

They agreed on the working agenda of the ASEAN-New Zealand Commemorative Summit slated for April 9 immediately after the 36th ASEAN Summit.

Participants also gave opinions about steps to implement initiatives and priorities proposed by Vietnam during 2020 under the theme “Cohesive and Responsive”.

Delegates expressed support for the initiatives on holding mid-term review of the implementation of ASEAN Community building plans to 2025, and evaluation of the implementation of the ASEAN Charter.

They also advocated efforts to promote sub-regional cooperation, especially in the Greater Mekong Subregion, enhance women’s role in building the ASEAN Community, and promote the image of ASEAN.

Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung affirmed Vietnam’s determination to fulfill tasks of the Chair of ASEAN in 2020, including the acceleration of the ASEAN Community building process, the expansion of ASEAN’s external relations and reform of ASEAN working methods.

Mentioning the complicated developments of the acute respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), the diplomat described Vietnam as a safe destination for foreign tourists with the epidemic under good control.

As host of ASEAN events this year, Vietnam has been taking a range of measures to ensure safety and health for all delegates, he said.

Following the SOM, the special ASEAN SOM, the ninth meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group (ACCWG), and the Joint Consultative Meeting (JCM) are scheduled to take place on March 5-6.

Founded in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups 10 member countries, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam./.