According to the article, the 36th ASEAN Summit, which was held virtually for the first time, witnessed leaders of the member states reaffirming their commitment for the need to further bolster cooperation in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plenary session of the online 36th ASEAN Summit on June 26

“Although restricted by movement and space, where leaders of the grouping had not been able to meet physically in Vietnam this time – including to perform the ASEAN tradition of crossover handshake – the meetings and interactions had proceeded virtually and in high spirit,” it wrote.

Under the chair of Vietnam, the one-day summit, which carried the theme “Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN,” saw leaders discussing a wide range of issues and cooperation concerning the region, with focus on the need for a comprehensive post-pandemic recovery plan for ASEAN.

Bernama quoted Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in his opening remarks at the 36th ASEAN Summit as saying that ASEAN must also be prepared to deal with the challenges ahead.

He said for the latter half of 2020, the challenge would be for governments of the ASEAN member states to lead ASEAN out of this period of adversity, adding that if succeeded, it will stand as a testament to the lasting values and vitality of ASEAN Resilient and Dynamic Community.

According to PM Phuc, in addition to maintaining good control of the COVID-19 pandemic, ASEAN should promptly repair its damage, and revitalize the economy and resume our economic development.

The 36th ASEAN Summit will be an occasion for ASEAN member states to reassert our spirit of solidarity, our strong political will and commitment to rise above the adversities of the pandemic and keep forging ahead, he said.

The article said the Summit this time also saw the ASEAN Leaders' Special Session on Women’s Empowerment in the Digital Age – which was to affirm the leaders’ commitment to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment and to enhance the role of women in building the ASEAN Community – being held for the first time.

The 36th summit was initially scheduled to be held on April 6 to 9 in Da Nang, but was rescheduled due to COVID-19.

Source: VNA