Laos lauds Vietnam’s hosting of AMM 53 hinh anh 1 Deputy Foreign Minister of Laos Thongphane Savanphet (Photo: VNA)

Vientiane (VNA) – Deputy Foreign Minister of Laos Thongphane Savanphet has spoken highly of Vietnam’s organisation of the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM 53) and related meetings, saying despite their virtual form, all discussions took place frankly as held directly.

The official, who is also head of the SOM ASEAN of Laos, congratulated Vietnam on successfully hosting all events as scheduled and completing the discussion of a series of documents as planned amid the complex developments of COIVD-19 worldwide.

Priorities set by the country as Chair of ASEAN 2020 are progressing well, he added.

The AMM 53 and related meetings, held from September 9-12 via video conferences, reviewed the implementation of ASEAN-related works and the results of member nations’ conduction of the bloc’s plan on building its three pillars, vision, and master plan on ASEAN connectivity, among others. 

At the event, participating countries agreed and were committed to collaborating in COVID-19 prevention and control, including experience exchange and joint research on vaccine production. ASEAN ministers also approved numerous important documents for cooperation for comprehensive economic recovery within the bloc, including a document on the establishment of an ASEAN fund in response to COVID-19 and the Joint Communique of AMM 53 ASEAN. 

According to Thongphane Savanphet, at these meetings, ASEAN continued playing its central role in cooperating with international partners, planning programmes, and putting forth priorities in discussions. He said the bloc’s joint work with its development and dialogue partners have grown robustly in the past five years. 

The meetings passed plans for ASEAN’s cooperation for 2021 – 2025 with partners like the US, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, and India, among others. ASEAN ministers agreed to grant the development partnership status to Italy and France.

In addition, the ministers also discussed with representatives of ASEAN partner nations on the matters of security and peace, particularly traditional and non-traditional security issues.

The Lao official said the pandemic has interrupted the bloc’s the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) negotiation this year.

In the past week, as part of the event, working groups in charge of the negotiation met, with ASEAN and China agreeing to carry out online negotiation if the pandemic keeps going on longer and committed to concluding the work effectively as soon as possible./.