Vietnam has turned a crisis into an opportunity for success: Diplomat hinh anh 1RoK Ambassador to ASEAN Lim Sung-nam in an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency (Photo: VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) – Vietnam did a good job as the ASEAN Chair this year, and the more than 80 documents adopted at the 37th ASEAN Summit and related summits last week is a proof that the country has turned a crisis into an opportunity for success, the Republic of Korea (RoK)’s Ambassador to the bloc Lim Sung-nam has said.

In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency, Lim said Vietnam did a very good job, and the summits from November 12 to 15 were a great success in three regards. 

First and foremost, ASEAN together with the dialogue partners and the regional community could confirm the commitment to fight the COVID-19 in a very cooperative manner. Secondly, ASEAN also charted a blueprint for the post-pandemic economic recovery which is called the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework. And last but not least, the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was another historical milestone.

The diplomat held that the Vietnamese Mission to ASEAN, Ambassador Tran Duc Binh and his team all deserve credit as the leadership they exerted was cohesive and responsive. 

“To be more specific, they exerted patient and persistent leadership in navigating very difficult negotiation,” he said, citing the adoption of five statements by the East Asia Summit (EAS) as an example since it's not easy to bring all together EAS member states on the same boat so that they could adopt five statements, which is unprecedented in the history of the EAS.

Regarding the ASEAN-RoK cooperation this year, Ambassador Lim said his country did prove to ASEAN that a friend in need is a friend indeed. 

The two sides are all in very difficult times because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they also have taken advantage of the crisis to show the world and ASEAN that the RoK is a true friend of the bloc, he added, highlighting the RoK’s launch of a mega project worth 5 million USD for enhancing ASEAN member states’ capacity of COVID-19 detection, its donation of 1 million USD to the ASEAN COVID-19 response fund, and the contributions to the ASEAN medical supplies stockpile system.

Talking about the ASEAN-RoK cooperation for the time ahead, Lim noted that his country will promote the implementation of the New Southern Policy Plus, through which the RoK will continue to upgrade the level of cooperation in seven key areas, including health care, human resources development, trade and industry, cultural exchanges, non-traditional security, infrastructure, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

One of the key goals of the New Southern Policy Plus is to create the foundation for sustainable and mutually beneficial trade and investment, and that's more or less in line with the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework.

The ambassador expressed his belief that by utilising those two frameworks, the RoK and ASEAN will continue to cooperate very closely for the mutually beneficial operation of the RCEP and at the same time to create a people-centered community of prosperity between the two sides in the coming years.

As for the RCEP, he said it will be a very important regional framework for further expanding trade and investment regionally and globally. In the post-pandemic years, the RCEP will provide a platform upon which the region as well as the global community will be able to recover from the economic recessions brought about by the COVID-19.

Besides, ASEAN has been the second largest trading partner of his country, and the RoK has been ASEAN's fifth largest trading partner. The bloc has also been the number two destination of foreign direct investment from the Northeast Asian nation. All these trade and investment ties will be further bolstered by the RCEP, according to him./.