Remarks by H.E. Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister of Viet Nam at the ASEAN - US Ministerial Video-conference on COVID-19
CMSC The Special ASEAN-US Foreign Ministers' Meeting took place on April 23, 2020, via video-conferencing format. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, H.E Pham Binh Minh, represented Viet Nam, as Chair of ASEAN 2020, to attend the Special Summit. Below is the full text of his remarks.
Excellencies Co-chairs, Minister Saleumxay Kommasith,
and the Honourable Secretary of State Michael Pompeo,
Excellencies ASEAN Foreign Ministers,
I highly appreciate Lao PDR and the United States for convening this timely video conference.
At present, the COVID-19 pandemic still sees complex developments around the world, causing serious socio-economic impacts on all countries.
In line with this year’s theme of “Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN”, since the outbreak of COVID-19, ASEAN has been working closely in promoting a pro-active, multi-sectoral, multi-stakeholder, whole-of-Community approach in fighting the pandemic.
ASEAN Leaders have reiterated our unity, commitment, and collective efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, to provide timely and appropriate assistance to citizens of ASEAN Member States affected, and to minimize the heavy tolls of COVID-19 on our economies and societies.
I am also pleased to note that ASEAN and our partners, including the United States, have been working hard to coordinate our response to the pandemic and beyond.
In this regard, I commend active engagement between the ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group on Public Health Emergencies and the US inter-agency team. I also appreciate the US’s prompt financial support of 19 million US dollars for regional countries in combating the COVID-19.
However, the situation in general is still worrisome and more work needs to be done. Our top priority now is to get through the pandemic and its negative socio-economic impacts. I believe ASEAN and the US, as strategic partners, have much to work together in the prevention, containment and control of the spread of the virus, and recovery of our economies.
Therefore, I would like to put forward some proposals for ASEAN–US cooperation to this end:
First, we must continue to share information, experience and best practices. Advances in research and development of vaccines and medicines must be shared, made available, affordable and accessible to all.
We, therefore, welcome the US’ plan to further strengthen public health cooperation with ASEAN through the US - ASEAN Health Futures Initiative and the ASEAN Alumni public health experts.
The US’ planned support for ASEAN in developing a regional disease control structures is what ASEAN really needs at this stage, and is most welcome.
The recent Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19 agreed on the establishment of a COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund and an ASEAN Regional Reserves of Medical Supplies. We encourage the US to extend your assistance and support to these arrangements.
As for Viet Nam, with strong political leadership and social consensus, Viet Nam rolled out measures that combined mandatory quarantine and effective tracing with extensive testing and treatment.
We also take actions to help businesses, big and small, and assist people facing hardships, particularly the poor and vulnerable, leaving no one behind.
These comprehensive measures have brought the situation under control. While doing our utmost in fighting the COVID-19, we are now working on economic recovery plans.
Second, we need to start preparing our post-COVID19 development plan which includes coordinated policies and measures to stimulate the economy, trade, and investment, stabilize the financial market, and restore the confidence of businesses and the people.
As ASEAN’s top trading partner and leading source of investment, the economic and financial stability of the US is crucial to sustaining normal flow of trade and investment of ASEAN.
We should work together to ensure the non-disruption of the regional and global supply chain, including essential goods, agricultural products, and vital medical supplies.
Last but not least, at this difficult time, what we need most is a peaceful and secure environment. While we are all doubling our efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, we should not lose sight of issues that have long-term implications for peace, security, and stability in the region.
Being the ASEAN Chair, Viet Nam will continue to work closely with ASEAN Member States and the US in suppressing and eliminating the threats of COVID-19, protecting the safety of our peoples and sustaining a stable and secure living environment for all.