Hanoi [Veitnam], July 16 (VNA/ANI): Successfully building the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) community continues to be a top priority of the bloc despite the difficulties and challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the group's member states reiterated at the ASEAN senior officials' virtual meet on Wednesday.
In the meeting, chaired by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung, the members expressed commitment in coordinating with Vietnam - Chair of ASEAN in 2020 - to implement priorities and initiatives during the year, including the mid-term review of the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, the ASEAN Charter, and preparations to build the ASEAN Community Vision post-2025.
They welcomed the operation of the ASEAN Fund for COVID-19 response and discussed the next steps to complete holistic post-pandemic recovery.
Participants spoke highly of Vietnam's successful organisation of the ASEAN forum on sub-regional development in Hanoi on July 14 under the theme "Converging Mekong sub-regional cooperation with ASEAN goals".
Regarding external relations, participants held that it is necessary to maintain the central role of ASEAN and step up pragmatic cooperation with the bloc's partners, especially at this difficult time.
ASEAN expects to approve eight action plans in the 2021-2025 period with partners Canada, China, India, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia, the US, and the United Nations.
Member countries spoke highly of the role of ASEAN+3 and agreed to promote cooperation to cope with COVID-19 and revive the economy, in particular improving regional financial and economic self-reliance.
They also discussed measures to strengthen the role and strategic value of the East Asia Summit (EAS) in the new development period, and increase capacity to deal with emerging challenges.
Founded in 1967, ASEAN groups together ten member countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. (VNA/ANI)