Lao Ambassador speaks highly of Vietnam’s contributions to ASEAN hinh anh 1Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Laos to ASEAN Ekkaphab Phanthavong  (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam has played an active role as the Chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 2020, especially in leading the bloc in implementing the ASEAN’s initiatives and priorities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Laos to ASEAN Ekkaphab Phanthavong told Vietnam News Agency’s correspondents in Jakarta.

Vietnam has assumed its chairmanship actively, particularly the initiative to convene meetings at all levels, including ASEAN leaders, sectoral ministers, senior officials, working groups, as well as ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners via video conferences, the diplomat said.

This contributes to further strengthen the ASEAN’s efforts and partnership to fully prepare for the comprehensive prevention and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the livelihoods of people as well as the economy, including the establishment of ASEAN Fund for COVID-19 response and reserves of medical supplies, he went on.

“I am strongly confident that Vietnam will continue the momentum and contribute significantly to achieve goals, initiatives and cooperation in ASEAN and between ASEAN and external partners to strengthen a strong ASEAN Community, especially the continuation of consultation and collaboration among the Sectoral Bodies of the 3 ASEAN community pillars to realise the implementation of the comprehensive post COVID-19 recovery plan, with emphasis on strategic sectors such as public health, promotion of intra ASEAN trade, digital economy, supply chain and human security.”

Evaluating the role and position of Vietnam after 25 years of admission to ASEAN, Ekkaphab said Vietnam has actively contributed and encouraged collective efforts of ASEAN in the establishment of the ASEAN Community in 2015.

One of the most outstanding achievements is that Vietnam has contributed significantly to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region, particularly Vietnam hosted the summit between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRF) and the United States in Hanoi in 2019, he said.

In addition, Vietnam has fulfilled its obligations, particularly the successful chairmanship of ASEAN in 1998 and 2010, and the third chairmanship of ASEAN in 2020 under the theme "Cohesive and Responsive" which is consistent with the current situation, especially ASEAN cooperation in tackling challenges posed by COVID-19.

Vietnam has also actively encouraged intra-bloc economic cooperation as well as remained a key role player to support the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) aimed at narrowing development gaps within ASEAN, mainly Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam (CLMV) to develop infrastructure, information and telecommunications, technology, human resources and economic connectivity in the region, he added./.