Speaking at the closing ceremony, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that leaders of ASEAN countries discussed and agreed on a range of drastic and practical measures to boost cooperation to respond to and overcome challenges facing the bloc, including the COVID-19 pandemic and to make the ASEAN Community become stronger and truly become a nucleus of the region with people always put at the centre.
The summits agreed on important contents, thus creating a new driver for relations between ASEAN and its partners and reaffirming strong commitments to multilateral cooperation as well as economic linkages and liberalisation.
The Vietnamese leader added that during these summits, leaders of participating countries reached consensus on numerous important decisions, including the Mid-term Review of ASEAN Community Vision 2025 Blueprints; reviewing the implementation of the ASEAN Charter, and approving the Hanoi Declaration on post-2025 ASEAN Community Vision.
On this occasion, the leaders of the ASEAN member states adopted a Narrative of ASEAN Identity and issued the Hanoi Declaration on Strengthening Social Work towards Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community, he said, adding that the ASEAN Women Leaders’ Summit held for the first time offered a valuable chance for women in ASEAN countries to contribute to the region’s sustainable growth efforts.
ASEAN’s initiatives on cooperation in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and disease risks were announced and put into operation, including the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund, the Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies, the ASEAN Standard Operating Procedures in response to Public Health Emergencies and the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases.
The leaders also adopted the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF) and a plan to carry out the ACRF on all three pillars of the ASEAN Community to help people and businesses overcome pandemic impacts and stabilise socio-economic activities.
To continue expanding and deepening relations with partners, PM Phuc went on, ASEAN agreed to allow the accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) of Colombia, Cuba and South Africa, raising the total number of signatories to 43.
The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement after eight years of talks demonstrates the strong commitment and determination of regional countries to promote economic connectivity and liberalisation, PM Phuc stresed.
At the closing ceremony, Vietnam handed over the ASEAN Chairmanship to Brunei Darussalam which will be chair of the bloc in 2021.
The Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah congratulated Vietnam on fulfilling its role as the ASEAN Chair in 2020.
He also announced the theme of “We care, We prepare and We prosper” for Brunei's ASEAN Chairmanship Year in 2021.