Nguyễn Quốc Dũng, who is the Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs has called for the ASEAN member states to have the travel corridor framework completed soon in order to have a safe reopening of essential business travel.
The deputy minister was speaking while addressing the ASEAN Joint Consultative Meeting (JCM) on Thursday. The event was held via video conference, hosted by Brunei, which holds the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2021. The progress of the ASEAN community-building over the last six months despite the Covid-19 crisis has been acknowledged by the participants of the meeting.
The members of the ASEAN have also showed their support towards Brunei in furthering their initiatives and priorities for the 10-member association this year.
They have also reached into agreement regarding the roadmap for building the ASEAN Community’s post-2025 vision as well as the formation of a high-level drafting group this year.
In the meeting, the master plan to establish the Fourth Industrial Revolution and accelerating the Strategic and Holistic Initiative to Link ASEAN Responses to Emergencies and Disasters (ASEAN SHIELD) has also been agreed on.
The officials also approved to intensify its efforts in procuring Covid-19 vaccines via the UNICEF and the COVAX Facility to supply member countries, requesting the association in utilizing its USD10.5 million from the Covid-19 response fund to procure vaccines.
While giving emphasis on the significance of sustainable recovery, the member countries pointed out that the participation of the entire bloc regarding the implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework is necessary in order to give assistance to enterprises, vulnerable groups, and remote areas in the region.
During the meeting, Việt Nam’s initiative to arrange an ASEAN forum on sub-regional cooperation at the third quarter of the year in order to give emphasis on reducing the gap with regards to development among sub-regions for comprehensive recovery and sustainable development has been welcomed and approved by the officials.
The result of the regional conference held on May 19 about the implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration for 2021–2025 led by Việt Nam have also been given recognition and value.
Deputy Minister Dũng said in his remarks that it is a must to give priority to the recovery as well as the promotion of connectivity among the region through the implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and the completion of the ASEAN travel corridor arrangement framework to enable travel within the bloc.
It has also been noted about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the region which involves the broadening development gap among the sub-regions in ASEAN. The official also urged the member countries to give their support to the remote areas like the Mekong sub-region to assist them towards recovery and to keeping pace with the common development in the grouping.