ASEAN leaders hold virtual summit today

Azlan Othman

ASEAN Heads of State and Government will hold the 36th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings today via video conferences as part of precautionary measures in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam will join other ASEAN leaders for the summit.

The 36th ASEAN Summit themed, ‘Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN’, will be chaired by Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Chair of ASEAN 2020 Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

The summit will focus on upholding the unity and solidarity and internal strength of ASEAN; increasing economic connectivity, deepening the ASEAN values and identities; and enhancing the efficiency of ASEAN in promoting partnerships in the global community; and on being more proactive and creative towards opportunities and regional and global challenges.

The ASEAN leaders last met in a virtual meeting during the Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19 in April this year.

Among other matters ASEAN leaders will discuss a robust post-pandemic recovery plan for the region

Meanwhile the ASEAN Secretariat yesterday said participants will discuss how to further strengthen cooperation on public health emergencies and put in place a robust post-pandemic recovery plan.

As 2020 ASEAN Chair, Nguyen Xuan Phuc will preside over the opening ceremony of the Summit.

Leaders will take stock of ASEAN’s community building efforts, challenges, and adopt a number of key documents to improve the lives of the peoples of ASEAN member states post-COVID-19.

The summit is also expected to reaffirm the need for a post-pandemic recovery plan which will involve collaboration among industries, private sector and other stakeholders.

‘’In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the convening of the 36th ASEAN Summit is a concrete demonstration of ASEAN’s solidarity and leadership manifested in concrete regional cooperation. Such solidarity is very much needed in responding to the pandemic,’’ said Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi.

“We expect a greater collaborative effort in information and knowledge sharing not only in areas of medical development but also in domestic policies related to social and health security given the vast impact of COVID-19 on communities,’’ he added.

Managing public health risks and reviving economies until an effective vaccine or treatment is found are high on the summit’s agenda.

Other highlights are the leaders’ interfaces with important stakeholders of the ASEAN Community such as the youth, the business group as well as parliamentarians who can contribute significantly to the community building efforts.