ASEAN demonstrates solidarity and cohesiveness under Vietnam’s chairmanship
“ASEAN has again demonstrated its solidarity and cohesiveness in facing the COVID-19 pandemic and its commitment to multilateralism by signing the Regional Comprehensive Partnership (RCEP),” said Yeah Kim Leng, Senior Fellow and Director of the Economic Studies Programme at the Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia at Sunway University in an interview given to the Vietnam News Agency’s correspondent in Kuala Lumpur.
The RCEP agreement is a notable success of the 37th ASEAN Summit in bringing the concept that was first mooted at the Bali ASEAN Summit in 2011 to reality in 2020, he said, adding that another impressive achievement is the record number of documents signed at the summit that epitomises the close cooperation among member countries in addressing common challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, food security and climate change.
According to Yeah, the year 2020 has been most challenging for all countries as they confront the unprecedented global health and economic crises. As a regional bloc, ASEAN has navigated both crises relatively well despite the difficulties posed by travel restrictions, border closures and health measures instituted to contain the break in each country.
Despite these difficulties, ASEAN under Vietnam’s chairmanship, continues to march forward as a cohesive body forging collaborative responses to the numerous challenges facing the region and avoiding the negative fallouts from the ongoing trade tension and geo-political rivalries between the two superpowers, United States and China.
Besides being among the few countries that are expected to experience positive economic growth in 2020, Vietnam has demonstrated its strong capability in containing the virus outbreak. Under its chairmanship, numerous initiatives have been rolled out in 2020, including the conclusion of RCEP – a testimony to its significant contribution to ASEAN.
“With an increasing dynamic economy, Vietnam is expected to be a leading growth engine for ASEAN and a magnet for rising trade and investment among RCEP countries,” noted the Malaysian professor./.