JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Strengthening the cooperation between the countries around the region is a crucial thing that must be done during the pandemic period to accelerating the regional economic recovery, said Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in his opening remarks at Association Southeast Nation (ASEAN) leaders summit today. While, Indonesian President Joko Widodo asserted ASEAN must be a guardian so not become an object in global politics.
The chair noted, the COVID-19 has wiped out the achievements that humans have accumulated over the years, robbing and threatening the lives of millions of people. He said, World Bank projected that the global economy would experience a serious decline with a 5.2 percent contraction and income per capita would drop by 3.6 percent.
Seventy to a hundred million people would fall into extreme poverty, and the risk of social instability would mount. More than 40 percent of all manufacturing industries and business sectors across countries are being directly affected by lockdown and restrictions imposed for disease control.
“While the entire world is stretched thin in the fight against the pandemic, irresponsible acts and acts in violation of international law are still taking place, affecting the environment of security and stability in certain regions, including in our region,” said the premier.
ASEAN secretary general, Lim Jock Hoi added, that apart from the epidemic was a real demonstration of the members solidarity and leadership manifested in concrete regional cooperation. According to him, such solidarity is needed in response to this pandemic.
“We expect greater collaborative efforts in sharing information and knowledge not only in the field of medical development but also in domestic policies related to social security and health given the widespread impact of COVID-19 on society,” said Lim.
While, President Widodo said, increasing cooperation between ASEAN countries would restore hopes for effective, efficient and equitable international cooperation. In a new era or adaptation of new habits in a global context, increased cooperation at the ASEAN region level can also be a driving force for regional stability and peace, he adds.
“ASEAN must be a guardian so that our region does not become a venue for projection of major powers. ASEAN must be a subject and not an object in global politics,” he said in an official statement released on Friday (06/26).
One of the improvements or strengthening of regional cooperation, according to him, is Indo-Pacific which was previously agreed upon by ASEAN leaders at the summit on June, 22, 2019.
“We must also continue to strengthen the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific which prioritizes inclusiveness, cooperation, rules-based orders, and confidence building,” said the head of state.
Foreign minister, Retno Marsudi, who also accompanied the President at the summit, explained that the summit adopted two documents, namely “Leaders Vision Statement on ASEAN Cohesive and Responsive: Rising Above Challenges and Sustaining Growth” and “ASEAN Declaration on Human Resources Development for the Changing World of Work”.
Some of the points outlined in the document include commitment to reduce the impact of COVID-19 through a comprehensive recovery plan and commitment to the timely realization of “ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together”, and emphasizing the principles of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific as a guideline for ASEAN involvement in the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.
While in the second document, the leaders agreed to develop competent human resources and be ready to face the changing world. To achieve this goal Indonesia and each ASEAN country will among others maintain a culture of learning at all levels of society and increase awareness of skills development.
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