Economic continuity important in post-COVID-19 recovery

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 during the ASEAN Plus Three Leaders for the 23rd ASEAN Plus Three Summit emphasised the importance of maintaining economic continuity, which would enable a swift and sustainable recovery by ensuring that goods and services are readily available, supply chains are open and connected, and businesses are able to continue operating.

His Majesty encouraged the consideration of establishing arrangements between ASEAN Plus Three countries to facilitate necessary and safe movement of peoples in the region towards accelerating and contributing to economic recovery and development.

At the summit held virtually via video conference, His Majesty underlined that ASEAN Plus Three countries need to stand more closely together in strengthening regional cooperation in public health to address the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in disease control, treatment and prevention. ASEAN thereby values the Plus Three countries for their contributions and commitments in addressing current challenges, including support for the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund.

President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in as Country Coordinator for the Plus Three countries in his remarks called for the facilitation of essential travel across borders without undermining disease control efforts. Furthermore, cooperation in areas of public health should continue towards the development of equitable supply of treatments as well as transparent mechanisms to prepare against new outbreaks. On the economic front, ASEAN Plus Three countries were urged to prepare pre-emptively for the post-COVID-19 era by strengthening measures towards resilient and inclusive economies.

This was followed by a statement from Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Li Keqiang in which he said China believes that the joint efforts to keep industrial and supply chains open demonstrate the resilience of ASEAN Plus Three cooperation and solidarity. In this regard, China highlighted that inclusive cooperation can contribute to peace, development and prosperity in the region.

Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga also highlighted the cooperation between ASEAN Plus Three countries, particularly in finance and food security, in making progress towards sustainable development. Japan also encouraged efforts towards economic revitalisation through resilient supply chains within industries. To defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan believes that universal health coverage is crucial and stands ready to collaborate with countries in the region to achieve this.

At the summit, the leaders also talked about a collective response to regional and global crises, which includes addressing the adverse impact of COVID-19 towards socio-economic recovery; strengthening healthcare infrastructure to build resilience; and enhancing cooperation between institutions and businesses towards building the digital economy, restoring essential travel and ensuring continued food supply.

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 speaks during the summit. PHOTO: INFOFOTO