Thailand proposes areas of ASEAN’s cooperation with external partners hinh anh 1Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc chairs the online 8th ASEAN-US Summit on November 14 (Photo: VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) – Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha suggested several areas of ASEAN’s cooperation with the US, Australia, and New Zealand at online summits on November 14.

At the 8th ASEAN-US Summit, the Thai PM said the US is a strategic partner of ASEAN.

ASEAN wishes to see the US’s constructive role in promoting the bloc’s centrality and solidarity as well as a new strategic balance in the Indo-Pacific region, which will help create a trustworthy environment beneficial to the region’s economic recovery and resilience in the long term, according to him.

He suggested three practical cooperation areas that the two sides should further step up: promoting public health security, global and regional economic recovery, and human capital development.

At the 2nd ASEAN-Australia Biennial Summit, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha emphasised the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, recommending both ASEAN and Australia work together and maintain multilateralism, which is key to seeking ways to escape from the crisis towards complete recovery.

Suggesting cooperation areas to create a basis for sustainable economic growth in the region, he pointed out the need to strengthen cooperation in digital economy so as to build an inclusive digital society, and to boost ties in the bio-circular-green (BCG) economy.

The Thai leader added the ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue (ACSDSD) had been established in Bangkok as a cooperation foundation for encouraging studies as well as dialogue and cooperation in sustainable development in ASEAN and between the bloc and external partners.

The BCG cooperation between ASEAN and Australia can be fostered via this centre, he suggested.

Meanwhile, at the ASEAN-New Zealand Commemorative Summit, PM Prayut expressed his belief that New Zealand, one of the most long-standing dialogue partners of ASEAN, will maintain close relations with the grouping.

He noted although the world is undergoing one of the toughest challenges of the era amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ASEAN and New Zealand can manage to overcome this crisis together via cooperation in public health and human security in the government, academic and civil society sectors.

Both can ensure effective post-pandemic socio-economic recovery by using the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund and other mechanisms led by the bloc and the country, he said, inviting New Zealand to join ASEAN member states in sustainable development projects via the ACSDSD, set up in Thailand last year.

The three summits were part of the 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings held via videoconference by Vietnam as Chair of the bloc in 2020./.