Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc chaired a ceremony in Hanoi on Monday to launch Vietnam’s 2020 Asean Chairmanship.
Speaking at the event, Phuc said throughout its 25 years of Asean membership, Vietnam has always made responsible contributions to Asean cooperation.
This year, Vietnam assumes major responsibilities at the regional and international levels, including the Asean Chairmanship.
Such responsibility allows Vietnam to contribute more to the building and growth of the Asean Community.
Previously a region of strife and differences, Asean has become a united group of independent countries enjoying great progress and growth, where 650 million people call home.
The grouping is the third most dynamic economy in the world, boasting total gross domestic product of $2.95 trillion in 2018. Asean has signed six free trade agreements with seven top partners in the world, reinforcing its centrality in the regional architecture.
These achievements have earned Asean the recognition of major powers and partners globally.
As the Asean 2020 Chair, Vietnam will build on the achievements and efforts of previous Asean Chairs and work with fellow members to identify the future directions for the Asean Community until 2025 and beyond, he said.
The Vietnamese government leader said that peace, stability, solidarity, unity, prosperity and sustainability will remain the purpose, identity and overarching goal of the Asean Community. These values pave the way for Asean to forge a new image in the spirit of making responsible contributions to dialogue and cooperation at the global level.
Secondly, the Asean Community will foster connectivity and deepen integration within and beyond the region, based on innovation, stability and the growing influence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution upon the life of the entire community.
The Asean Community will aim to be a model of the circular economy, endowed with new vigour.
Thirdly, the Asean Community will hope to become more resilient through effective climate change adaptation and response, and better management of natural disasters, pollution and plastic waste.
It also aims to become a more liveable place, with a burgeoning network of smart cities and strong social welfare with a high-quality workforce in the digital era through quality educational system and strategies for sustainable development and equal opportunity for all.
Fourthly, its fundamental documents enable the organs of the Asean Community to maintain effective operation and better serve the people.
To realise these aspirations, he called on each member and every citizen to make every effort to contribute to the common works of Asean.
“Let us think community, act community, and share the community values. There are no ties more enduring than those connecting our hearts. Let our efforts take Asean far and wide, and at the same time, keep Asean close to our hearts,” Phuc said.
He said the theme of Asean 2020 is Cohesive and Responsive, which is supported by the five priorities for 2020, identified to meet the long-term goals of Asean.
They involve contributing to a regional environment of peace, security and stability; bringing prosperity through regional integration and connectivity, heightening Asean’s adaptability to the Fourth Industrial Revolution; raising the awareness of Asean Community and identity; strengthening partnerships for peace and sustainable development, and promoting the role and contribution of Asean in the international community; and enhancing the capacity and efficiency of Asean.
Vietnam will make every effort to work with fellow members to accomplish these priorities, he said.
Phuc wished that as befitting of an “Asean citizen”, each Vietnamese citizen, through actions, would spread the messages of a friendly, cordial and hospitable Vietnam that welcomes all partners with open arms.
At the ceremony, Phuc together with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and leaders of ministries and agencies pressed the button to launch the Asean 2020 website.
Minh also awarded tokens of honours for special sponsors for Vietnam 2020 Asean Chairmanship, who each have contributed more than 10 billion dong ($430,000) in services, products or money to Vietnam’s chairmanship.
Vietnam-made car manufacturer Vinfast under the conglomerate VinGroup committed to providing 393 cars to service Asean events that will be held in the country during the year.
VIET NAM NEWS/ANN