The trip aims to help intensify ASEAN’s solidarity, promote its central role, deepen relations with the bloc’s partners, and create a favorable environment for the sustainable development of each country and the whole region. The visit is also expected to further popularize Vietnam’s image as a country of reforms and active and responsible engagement in regional cooperation.

Advancing partnership for sustainability

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on August 8, 1967. Meanwhile, the ASEAN Community officially came into being on December 31, 2015 with a view to becoming a community that is “politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible, oriented towards the people and centers on the people” on the basis of the ASEAN Charter and the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

Delegates at the event

The bloc also aims to bring into play its central role in an open, transparent and rules-based regional order to maintain peace, security, stability and development in the region.

In 2019, under the chair of Thailand, ASEAN has continued to strengthen cooperation and connectivity under the theme “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability,” which is meant to consolidate the sustainability in all the three pillars (the ASEAN Political-Security Community, the ASEAN Economic Community, and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community), and associate the grouping’s development targets with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Vietnam greatly contributes to ASEAN’s development

Since it became a member of ASEAN on July 28, 1995, Vietnam has made important contributions to the development of the bloc.

The country has coordinated with other member nations to build important orientations and policies for the bloc, including the ASEAN Vision 2020 and the ASEAN Vision 2025, the Hanoi Plan of Action, the Declaration of ASEAN Concord II on the formation of the ASEAN Community, the ASEAN Charter, and the 2009-2015 Road-map for an ASEAN Community.

Vietnam has also successfully served in important rotational roles of the association such as host of the 6th ASEAN Summit in 1998, Chair of the ASEAN Standing Committee in 2000-2001, and Chair of ASEAN in 2010. It has been active as coordinators of ASEAN’s relations with major partners like the US, Russia, the European Union, India and Japan, while greatly helping with the formation, expansion and consolidation of ASEAN-led institutions.

It has always laid emphasis on the bloc’s solidarity and unanimity while helping to build and bring into play tools and mechanisms for ensuring regional security, promote the building of trust and the sharing of common standards of conduct in the region, and solidify the grouping’s centrality through ASEAN-led mechanisms and forums. The country has also actively contributed to common efforts by ASEAN to respond to issues affecting regional peace and security, including those relevant to the East Sea.

Besides, Vietnam has taken the lead in regional economic integration and is one of the two countries with the highest percentage of commitments in the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint fulfilled (95.5 percent, following Singapore). The country has worked hard to help boost the building and implementation of economic cooperation agreements within ASEAN, as well as between the grouping and partners. It has contributed cooperation initiatives in such fields as supporting micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises; facilitating trade; developing e-commerce; enhancing connectivity; and narrowing development gap in ASEAN.

Many practical cooperation ideas oriented towards the people have also been proposed by Vietnam, including those on social welfare, support for vulnerable groups, education, health care, epidemic prevention, environmental protection, and climate change adaptation.

Vietnam will serve as ASEAN Chair in 2020, which will be an important year for the realization of the ASEAN Vision 2025 and also mark the country’s 25-year membership of the association.

Promoting ASEAN Community building

The 35th ASEAN Summit and related summits is expected to be attended by leaders of the 10 member countries, the bloc’s partners (China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, the US and Russia), along with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The events are set to discuss measures to boost the building of the ASEAN Community and the implementation of the blueprints of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025. They will also look into initial implementation outcomes and ways to continue carrying out the ASEAN Leaders’ Vision Statement on Partnership for Sustainability, which was adopted at the 34th ASEAN Summit earlier this year; the priorities for 2019 under the theme “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”; and orientations for the grouping in the coming years.

At the summits, participants are going to discuss measures to bolster extensive and win-win relations with partners, review the implementation of action plans between ASEAN and partners, and mobilize partners’ support for the community building. They will also talk the enhancement of ASEAN’s centrality in an evolving regional architecture, including promoting the possibility of cooperation in responding to global economic vagaries, adapting to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and dealing with global challenges like climate change, terrorism, trans-national crimes, and cyber security.

The ASEAN chairmanship will be handed over to Vietnam after the summit’s closing ceremony.

At the hand-over ceremony, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc will deliver a speech introducing the theme and major orientations of Vietnam for the ASEAN Year 2020. The country will also debut the logo for the year and screen a video introducing its ASEAN chairmanship.

Source: VNA