Laos highlights need for intra-bloc cooperation, solidarity to maintain ASEAN central role hinh anh 1Lao Deputy Foreign Minister Thongphane Savanphet (Photo: VNA)
Vientiane (VNA) – ASEAN member countries should strengthen cooperation and solidarity to maintain the bloc's central role, while consistently pursuing the method of implementing ASEAN work, especially protecting the principle of consensus and other rules stated in the ASEAN Charter, said Lao Deputy Foreign Minister Thongphane Savanphet. 

Speaking to Vietnam News Agency correspondents in Vientiane on October 25 ahead of the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits and related meetings, FM Thongphane Savanphet, who is also head of SOM ASEAN of Laos, said that ASEAN and the whole world are facing adverse impacts from COVID-19, adding that the block has shown strong cooperation in pushing back the pandemic. 

The pandemic is still prolonging, he said, stressing that the important thing is the way ASEAN member countries respond to the pandemic and boost post-pandemic economic recovery. 

Besides, the production of COVID-19 vaccines sufficient for all is also a great challenge to the region and the world, as currently, the ASEAN has yet to access enough vaccine supplies to meet their demands, while there has been no medicine for COVID-19 treatment, he noted.  

The Lao Deputy FM pointed to a lack of medical supplies and medicine serving COVID-19 testing and treatment in the world. He underscored that ASEAN should foster intra-bloc coordination and mutual support, especially in providing COVID-19 vaccines in a sufficient and equal manner.

Regarding issues related to economic recovery, he said that to date, ASEAN has exerted great efforts, especially in building a regional economic recovery framework and reaching agreements on a travel corridor for entrepreneurs and people. 

Currently, some ASEAN countries have eased their pandemic control measures and allowed traveling activities, he noted, saying that if the solutions are effective, they will reopen their doors for businesses and people from other countries. 

Along with these challenges, the region is also facing risks from natural disasters and regional security, especially the competition among world powers, he stated. 

According to Thongphane Savanphet, the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits and related meetings will focus on a wide range of matters, including the way to respond to COVID-19 and recover economic development, and Ease Sea and the Korean Peninsula issues, as well as other internal affairs of ASEAN. 

Besides, the member countries will discuss with partners on cooperation measures, which is one of the most important issues of ASEAN in its efforts to become stronger in the socio-economic aspect and others, and protect the regional security, he said. 

He added that a statement on cooperation on dealing with natural disasters in the region is expected to be issued, so that ASEAN member countries can provide mutual support for each other, toward the formation of a fund for natural disaster response, along with statements on green economy, multilateral collaboration on boosting trade and investment cooperation among the countries to ensure a smooth global supply chain./.