Meeting promotes ASEAN-EAS cooperation in adapting to COVID-19 hinh anh 1Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung  (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Senior experts from the East Asia Summit (EAS) have gathered at an online meeting to discuss cooperation orientations in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, co-chaired by Vietnam, as the Chair of ASEAN and EAS 2020, and Indonesia as the Chair of the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Health Development (SOMHD).

The meeting was held within the framework of a joint initiative from Vietnam and Indonesia to strengthen EAS cooperation in dealing with the health crisis and future public health emergencies, towards coordinating efforts to minimise the negative effects of the disease and promote sustainable recovery, while contributing to improving the EAS’s ability to effectively respond to emerging challenges in the region.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung highlighted the spirit of cohesion and proactive adaptation of ASEAN member nations and the group’s close coordination with its partners, including the EAS, in responding promptly and effectively to the pandemic.

He called upon EAS partners to continue active support to ASEAN initiatives in containing the spread of COVID-19, responding to other diseases in the future, including the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund and the regional medical supplies reserve warehouse, and helping ASEAN build an overall recovery plan.

The EAS needs to continue improving its ability to respond promptly and effectively to emerging challenges in the region, he said.

Dung suggested participants focus on discussing and proposing practical and specific measures to continue to improve the effectiveness of EAS cooperation in controlling and containing the pandemic, while minimising its socio-economic impact and promoting sustainable recovery.

ASEAN’s existing efforts and initiatives along with its cooperation with EAS partners are an important foundation for further promoting EAS cooperation towards these goals, he affirmed.

ASEAN SOM Leader of Indonesia Ngurah Swajaya emphasised the need to enhance cooperation among countries to effectively respond to the pandemic’s increasingly complicated development, proposing EAS partners continue supporting ASEAN in improving health capacity to respond to the pandemic and in researching and developing COVID-19 vaccines and medicines.

Experts from the EAS countries welcomed the organisation of the meeting, saying it offers an opportunity to further promote the role of the EAS in promoting effective cooperation to respond to emerging regional challenges, especially the pandemic.

They agreed it is necessary to strengthen close coordination with and support for ASEAN to effectively respond to the pandemic.

Participants also agreed to submit the results of the meeting to the 15th East Asia Summit, in November./.