Vietnam an invaluable member of ASEAN Community: Philippine Ambassador hinh anh 1Permanent Representative of the Philippines to ASEAN Ambassador Noel Servigon (Photo: VNA)

Jakarta (VNA)
- Vietnam is an invaluable member of the ASEAN Community and has actively shepherded a number of important initiatives and led efforts that continue to enrich the ASEAN agenda and experience, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to ASEAN Ambassador Noel Servigon told the Vietnam News Agency's reporter in Jakarta.

The positive effects born during Vietnam’s Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2010 alone, with its theme “Towards the ASEAN Community: From Vision to Action”, continue to this very day, the ambassador said. Among the effects are the raising of the profile of the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty in multilateral forums, strengthening the East Asia Summit with the inclusion of more non-ASEAN Member States as participating countries, leading discussions on efforts to restore and sustain the financial health of the region, which was recovering from a financial crisis, promoting sustainable development, narrowing the development gap in ASEAN, and fostering infrastructure development and ASEAN connectivity, he added.

Servigon recalled the time when he served as Ambassador of the Philippines to Vietnam, saying he saw the tremendous progress Vietnam was making at that time.

It was heart-warming to witness the widespread enthusiasm exhibited at all levels of society in Vietnam when ASEAN celebrated its Golden Year in 2017, he remarked. “Indeed, from what I observed, the Vietnamese people hold their country’s membership and engagement in the ASEAN Community in the highest regard,” he said.

He went on to highlight Vietnam’s role as Chair of ASEAN this year. “With the year 2020 comes the task of negotiating numerous successor Plans of Action with Dialogue Partners, as well as with the UN,” the ambassador said, adding that the Philippines appreciates Vietnam’s leadership in ensuring these Plans of Action are finalised within the year and contribute to the further strengthening of ASEAN’s external relations while upholding the primacy of the bloc’s centrality.

This year, Vietnam is also steering efforts to conduct a comprehensive mid-term review of all community blueprints that guide economic, socio-cultural, and political policies, he continued. The outcomes of these reviews will ensure that ASEAN’s growth and development continue on the correct path to secure a better collective future for all peoples of the bloc.

The diplomat also praised Vietnam’s leadership in manoeuvring ASEAN through the global COVID-19 crisis, saying the country’s remarkable success in containing the pandemic has served as a model not only in ASEAN but around the world.

“Our concerted efforts this year will help ensure that all member states emerge stronger and better equipped to respond and recover from future pandemics,” he said.

According to the ambassador, ASEAN has become one of the most important regional organisations in the world. An economic dynamo and a major player in the region’s political-security architecture and the world, ASEAN has gone from strength-to-strength and has continuously risen to myriad challenges.

A key aspect of ASEAN’s strength as a regional organisation is the powerful sense of community, one that has been carefully nurtured through the decades, threading across the ten very diverse member states, particularly among ASEAN’s leaders and policy-makers, he said.

He added that the triumph of cooperation and consensus over conflict continues to shape ASEAN’s achievements in a region that could have been so easily fraught with destabilising issues. “This has brought about an ecosystem of peaceful co-existence in the region and underpins the concerted efforts of member states towards common aspirations across the economic, socio-cultural, and political areas,” the ambassador said./.