Thai PM points to major issues needing ASEAN’s focus hinh anh 1Regional leaders at the plenary session of the 37th ASEAN Summit on November 12 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Thai Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has attended the opening and plenary session of the 37th ASEAN Summit, held online on November 12 and chaired by Vietnam.

According to Thai Government spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri, while addressing the plenary session PM Prayut stressed that COVID-19 prevention and control is still an important task that ASEAN member countries should focus on.

He underlined the significance of solidarity within ASEAN in bringing the region out of this crisis.

The Thai Government leader proposed four major issues that the grouping should work together to tackle, including the strengthening of cooperation in public health, especially in producing and delivering a vaccine against COVID-19 to all people at a reasonable price.

He said Thailand is willing to share its success with other ASEAN members in seeking anti-coronavirus drugs and vaccines. He suggested the use of the ASEAN fund for COVID-19 response to support the distribution of the vaccine in the region and also reiterated its offer to host the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases.

The Thai leader underlined that ASEAN can only recover and adapt to the “new normal” when all countries engage in joint efforts for comprehensive recovery. He said that Thailand supports the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework as well as the ASEAN Tourism Agreement.

ASEAN should prepare to build long-term resilience against new challenges by strengthening the basic principles of the region through stronger regional integration and links in supply chains as well as transparent measures relating to trade, he said.

He also stressed the need for the bloc to work together in maintaining regional stability to create a favourable environment for the tackling of COVID-19 and for economic recovery.

Concluding his speech, the Thai PM congratulated Vietnam on its success as ASEAN Chair this year and in leading the association through the pandemic in a united manner. Thailand will provide full support to Brunei, the next ASEAN Chair, in efforts to build resilience against different challenges for a stronger ASEAN Community, he said.

The 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits kicked off online in Hanoi on November 12.

Founded in 1967, ASEAN groups together ten member countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam./.
Tran Ngoc Quang VNA