The event drew the participation of ASEAN countries and its partners.

Addressing the event, Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said ASEAN should prioritize the enhancement of connectivity, sustainable and inclusive development, and the improvement of its role in sub-region cooperation, including Mekong mechanisms.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung also stressed the strategic role of the Mekong sub-region, saying the development of a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Mekong sub-region would help to consolidate ASEAN’s position in the regional architecture and build the ASEAN community.

Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh speaks at the opening ceremony. Photo: VNA

During the event, delegates discussed issues related to the role of sub-regional economic corridors in regional connectivity and economic links between ASEAN and partners, challenges to sustainable development and the role of development partners in sub-regional cooperation, among others.

They were briefed on the Mekong sub-region’s development by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA). According to the report, cooperation within the framework of the Mekong sub-region is the most successful initiative over the past three decades, which has greatly contributed to regional economic development and poverty reduction.

However, the Mekong region has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to overcome these challenges, these countries need to make changes to catch up with new global economic trends and better apply scientific and technological advances, especially amidst the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the popularity of digital technology. The ERIA also suggested Mekong countries adjust policies with priorities given to connectivity, industrialization, social welfare, and sustainable development.

Concluding the teleconference, Dung affirmed Vietnam, as ASEAN Chair 2020, will continue its close coordination with other ASEAN member countries and partner countries to promote the multi-field, multi-partner, and multi-level approach, for a united, resilient and responsive ASEAN.

Translated by Song Anh