Leaders recognise Vietnam’s remarkable leadership as ASEAN Chair: Cambodian ministry hinh anh 1Vietnamese Prime Minsiter Nguyen Xuan Phuc addresses the plenary session of the online 37th ASEAN Summit on November 12 (Photo: VNA)

Phnom Penh (VNA) – ASEAN leaders commended the remarkable leadership of Vietnam as ASEAN Chair in steering the bloc’s priorities in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release issued by the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on late November 13.

The press release, which highlighted the outcomes of the 37th ASEAN Summit and related events held via videoconference by Vietnam from November 12 to 15, noted that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth, on behalf of PM Hun Sen, headed the Cambodian delegation at the meetings.

It said that ASEAN leaders expressed commitment to double ASEAN Community building efforts and the work towards achieving the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and beyond.

Amid unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, they emphasised their strong collective stance to maintain the ASEAN solidarity and unity to ensure peace, security and sustainable development in the region.

They agreed on the need to facilitate essential business travels and people movement among and between ASEAN member states through the adoption of the declaration on an ASEAN travel corridor arrangement framework.

The leaders also announced the establishment of the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergencies and encouraged contributions to this reserve from the member states, external partners and interested donors.

Also at the 37th ASEAN Summit, they reiterated the importance of continued upholding inclusive and rules-based multilateral trading system. In this regard, the leaders announced the completion of the substantial negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and looked forward to the signing of the RCEP on November 15, according to the press release.

At the 23rd ASEAN-China Summit, the leaders discussed achievements of cooperation over the past 29 years between the two sides and charted future direction of strategic partnership.

ASEAN appreciated China’s contributions to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund as well as supporting other ASEAN-led initiatives to address this crisis.

During this meeting, Cambodia voiced satisfaction with the progress of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) implementation. It urged ongoing discussions on the ACFTA Upgrading Protocol in order to boost more trade and investment between the bloc and the Northeast Asian nation, the press release noted./.