Vietnam supports ASEAN's cooperation priorities
|Heads of States of ASEAN nations|
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc led a Vietnamese delegation to attend the event, the first summit in the year the Philippines holds the chair of the grouping.
In his opening remarks, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called on ASEAN countries to respect national independence and affirmed that relationships will bring about benefits if mutual benefit is respected.
Duterte underscored the core priorities of the Philippines’ chairmanship, which are building a people-oriented and people-centred ASEAN, maintaining a peaceful and stable region, cooperating in maritime security and advancing inclusive and innovative-led growth, promoting ASEAN’s resiliency, and promoting ASEAN as a model for regionalism and as a global player.
He then hosted the summit plenary that focused its discussion on how to strengthen ASEAN connectivity and effectively implement the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the master plans for the ASEAN Community pillars.
In his speech, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc supported cooperation priorities set out by the ASEAN Chairman saying they reflect the needs of strengthening internal unity and promoting ASEAN's central role as a global partner.
Phuc hailed the progress in implementing the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and said the regional grouping should place priority on building a people-oriented and people-centred ASEAN, increasing the effectiveness of ASEAN operations and promoting intra-group cooperation and regional connectivity.
He emphasized that to win support of people across the region in building the ASEAN Community, the bloc needs to pay heed to people-connected projects, provide more cross-border career opportunities and promote cultural exchanges and tourism, so that the people can benefit more from the ASEAN integration process.
There has been a rapid growth in trade between ASEAN and its partners but trade within ASEAN has barely budged over the past few years, Phuc said, noting that it is essential to accelerate intra-bloc cooperation in order to take full advantage of a 620-million-people market.
The Vietnamese government leader urged the prompt finalization of an action plan for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) development strategy for 2016-2025, as SMEs accounted for over 90% of the number of businesses in Southeast Asia. More resources should be allocated for startups and innovative projects together with support for them to access funding and markets, he noted.
Vietnam will partner with Thailand to take a leading role in improving productivity and promoting technology, creativity and innovation, he said.
At the plenary session the same day, PM Phuc and leaders of other ASEAN countries discussed the development of the ASEAN Community.
The Vietnamese government leader and ASEAN leaders also attended the ASEAN Summit’s retreat and dialogues with ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly and ASEAN Youth representatives.
At the end of the summit, ASEAN leaders are expected to sign the ASEAN Declaration on the Role of the Civil Service as Catalyst for Achieving ASEAN Vision 2025. President Rodrigo Duterte, 2017 ASEAN Chair, will also make the ASEAN Summit Chairman Statement.