Vietnam joins 32nd ASEAN – Australia Forum hinh anh 1Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of the ASEAN Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) Vietnam (Photo: VNA) 

Hanoi (VNA) - Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of the ASEAN Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) Vietnam, on May 18 participated in the 32nd ASEAN – Australia Forum, which was held in the form of an online conference. 

In his speech at the event, Dung emphasised ASEAN's proactive and timely efforts and its close coordination with partners in coping with COVID-19 and minimising the socio-economic impacts caused by the pandemic. 

He affirmed that, together with efforts to cope with the disease, Vietnam will work closely with other ASEAN countries and partners, including Australia, to maintain ASEAN's activities through teleconferences, continue to actively promote orientations and priorities for cooperation set out in 2020 and the implementation of the Community Vision 2025, strengthen ASEAN mechanisms, develop the Mekong sub-region, and expand partnerships for peace and sustainable development.

Dung proposed cooperation orientations between ASEAN and Australia in preventing and controlling COVID-19, ensuring support for citizens affected by the disease, minimising its impacts on socio-economic development, and preparing post-epidemic recovery and development plans.

He stressed the need to effectively utilise existing development cooperation programmes within the ASEAN-Australia cooperation framework in these efforts.

Dung urged countries to enhance solidarity and respect of the rule of law, and build trust in order to ensure an environment of peace, safety and stability to facilitate cooperation.

As an annual meeting at the Deputy Foreign Ministerial level, the conference aimed to review the process of cooperation and discuss measures to promote the ASEAN-Australia partnership, especially their coordination to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Representatives from ASEAN member nations and Australia updated information related to disease prevention measures and experiences. The two sides agreed to promote sharing of information, experience and technical assistance, and help each other to improve their ability to cope with future disease outbreaks. 

They pledged to support citizens affected by the pandemic, exert efforts to minimise its impacts on socio-economic development, and coordinate policies to prepare post-epidemic recovery plans.

Both sides affirmed their commitment to promoting their strategic partnership, especially in this difficult time, in order to overcome challenges caused by the pandemic, thus further strengthening cooperation.

They agreed to continue promoting the Plan of Action to implement the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Partnership (2020-2024), emphasised their support for an open, fair, rules-based international multilateral trading system towards upgrading the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement in 2020./.