Senior officials talk preparations for 54th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting hinh anh 1Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of SOM ASEAN Vietnam, led the Vietnamese delegation to the event. (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Senior officials of ASEAN countries gathered at a virtual meeting on July 29 to prepare for the 54th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-54).

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of SOM ASEAN Vietnam, led the Vietnamese delegation to the event.

Participating officials reviewed the preparations for the AMM-54 and related meetings, scheduled to take place via videoconference from August 2 to 6, and also discussed the bloc’s priorities for 2021.

They reaffirmed the commitment to supporting the initiatives of the ASEAN Year 2021 such as the ASEAN SHIELD, enhancing the combined strength of the bloc in responding to natural disasters, promoting multilateralism, improving the awareness of the identity and spirit of the ASEAN Community, and building the post-2025 ASEAN Community Vision.

Given the COVID-19 resurgence in many regional countries, they underlined the urgency of augmenting response efforts, especially procuring vaccines, deploying the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund, and recovering comprehensively.

The meeting stressed the importance of sub-regional cooperation in narrowing the development gap and building the ASEAN Community, highly valuing and supporting Vietnam’s initiative to organise an ASEAN forum on sub-regional cooperation in late 2021.

Regarding external relations, officials discussed measures to enhance regional dialogue and cooperation and to further bring into play the bloc’s centrality in the ASEAN-led mechanisms.

Regional and international issues of common concern were also put on table at the event.

In his speech, Deputy Foreign Minister Dung emphasised the vital role of vaccine and anti-viral drugs in the COVID-19 combat, urging ASEAN countries to step up vaccine procurement plans, strengthen cooperation with partners in vaccine access, supply and distribution, share experience, and improve vaccine production capacity.

Vietnam will keep working with other countries to effectively implement the cooperation outcomes obtained in 2020, including the building of the post-2025 ASEAN Community Vision, he affirmed.

Highlighting the significance of sub-regional cooperation, he appreciated the countries’ support for Vietnam’s initiative to hold the ASEAN forum on sub-regional cooperation.

Dung called for stronger connection of sub-regional cooperation with common development frameworks and programmes of ASEAN, considering this one of the focuses to realise the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and build the post-2025 vision.

At the meeting, the deputy minister also exchanged views on regional and international issues of shared concern, stressing that amid complex and unpredictable developments in the regional and international situation, ASEAN should maintain its solidarity and common voice and bring into play its centrality in dealing with issues related to regional peace, security, and stability.

On the occasion of the 26th anniversary of Vietnam’s ASEAN membership (July 28, 1995 - 2021), he thanked all members of the bloc for consistently assisting and supporting the country, adding that Vietnam will continue standing side by side with them on the path to a strong and dynamic ASEAN./.