HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, as Chairman of ASEAN in 2020, issued a statement on ASEAN’s joint response to the outbreak of the acute respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The statement expressed concerns raised by ASEAN leaders about the complicated development of the epidemic, which has seriously impacted people’s lives and the development of ASEAN countries as well as the region and the world as a whole.
Stressing ASEAN solidarity and spirit of a “cohesive and responsive” community, ASEAN leaders affirmed their strong commitment to joining hands to control the spread of the epidemic to ensure public safety.
The statement welcomed the efforts under the framework of ASEAN medical co-operation with its partners (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea), and underlined that ASEAN would enhance co-ordination at both national and regional levels, co-ordinate joint work among relevant sectors for a synchronised and effective approach, and stronger cooperation with the World Health Organisation, partners and international organisations.
The statement also affirmed the solidarity and strong support of ASEAN for the tremendous efforts the Government and people of China had made as well as the international community to respond to the epidemic.
ASEAN countries would maintain an open-door policy and agreed to co-ordinate in quarantine work at border gates of the member countries, the statement said, requiring diplomatic representative agencies of ASEAN countries in a third country to provide consular support for ASEAN citizens when necessary, and co-operate to fight fake information on the COVID-19 epidemic.
ASEAN leaders pledged to give high priority to fighting the epidemic and called for joint efforts with the international community.
As part of ASEAN’s joint response to the COVID-19, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh, as Chairman of the ASEAN Co-ordinating Council (ACC), proposed organising an extraordinary meeting of the ACC and co-ordinating with China to hold a special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on joint efforts to deal with COVID-19 the during the upcoming 5th Mekong-Lancang Co-operation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Vientiane. — VNS
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