Vietnam assumes ASEAN Chair

09:38 | 03/12/2019 Vietnam - Asean

(VEN) - The chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for 2020 that Vietnam officially assumed on November 4 will be a chance for the country to demonstrate its leadership and coordination capability to help the 10 member countries grasp opportunities, overcome challenges, and build a sustainable community.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc affirmed that Vietnam is ready to assume the ASEAN Chairmanship role in 2020 with the highest sense of responsibility. He also announced the theme and introduced Vietnam’s priorities for the ASEAN Chair Year 2020, affirming that “Think Community, Act Community” is what ASEAN needs most to make the ASEAN Community a success.

vietnam assumes asean chair
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc receives the ASEAN chairmanship hammer from his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-cha

The year 2020 marks a quarter century of Vietnam’s participation in ASEAN. Also in 2020, Vietnam will serve as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Both positions are important and prestigious diplomatic roles that will enable the country to prove its standing and capacity in the international arena. Through its concurrent positions, Vietnam will also represent the whole ASEAN Community at the United Nations.

Vietnam has chosen “Cohesive and Responsive” as the theme for the ASEAN Chair Year 2020. It will focus on promoting ASEAN’s internal strengths through solidarity and connectivity, which include its cohesiveness in terms of economy and community building, along with each country’s people-centered development. In addition, “Responsive” means flexibly adapting to international and regional changes, along with intertwined challenges and opportunities, such as rapid development of science and technology, growing competition among powers, and non-traditional challenges such as climate change and epidemics.

vietnam assumes asean chair
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (fifth from the right) and ASEAN leaders at the opening ceremony of the 35th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, Thailand

Vietnam has adopted five priorities for the ASEAN Chair Year 2020. It includes strengthening ASEAN unity and solidarity, reinforcing ASEAN centrality and promoting its active contribution to regional peace and stability amid complexities; intensifying ASEAN’s economic integration and connectivity to adapt to the dynamic changes of the fourth industrial revolution and the digital economy; promoting ASEAN identity and awareness about the ASEAN Community among the people; enhancing ASEAN’s global partnership for peace, stability and sustainable development; and increasing ASEAN’s institutional capacity and effectiveness.

Within ASEAN, including as chair in 1998 and 2010, Vietnam has helped advance several priorities, including narrowing development gaps among Southeast Asian nations, developing new institutions, and engaging other powers. The ASEAN Chair Year 2020 is considered the biggest multilateral event Vietnam will host next year, when the group will be half-way towards its plans to realize the ASEAN Vision 2025. It will also be an important year as the progress and achievements made will be evaluated in order to decide on the next steps to successfully achieve the targets of the ASEAN Community in 2025.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung said Vietnam is ready in terms of organizational structure and human resources, and has projects and overall action plans for 2020. Now it is time for the country to embark on concrete implementation. In the immediate future, Vietnam is focused on preparing for the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in January 2020 in the central city of Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Province. This is the first major activity to open the ASEAN Chair Year 2020, with an emphasis on unifying the ASEAN’s 2020 orientations and priorities under the chairmanship and administration of Vietnam, Dung said.

According to Article 31 of the ASEAN Charter, the chair rotates annually, based on the alphabetical order of the English names of member states. Vietnam’s chairmanship will formally begin on January 1, 2020.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Vietnam will focus on promoting ASEAN cohesion and sustainability by enhancing solidarity and unity, strengthening economic integration and connecting ASEAN Community’s identities as well as improving ASEAN’s institutional efficiency and fostering its relations with global partners.

Hoa Quynh