HÀ NỘI — Leaders from ASEAN countries, the Republic of Korea (RoK), Japan and China praised the region’s international co-ordination in the battle against COVID-19 during a summit on Saturday.
Addressing the 23rd ASEAN+3 Summit on Saturday, RoK President Moon Jae-in said the COVID-19 Response Fund and the reserves of essential medical supplies had been a joint effort.
He said ASEAN and the RoK, Japan and China must boost co-operation in the area of public health and work towards the development and equitable supply of vaccines and treatment.
“We must also establish a timely and transparent co-ordination mechanism to prepare against new infectious diseases which could strike at any time,” he added.
On the economic front, he said the global economy was projected to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels by next year. But the speed of this recovery would be very uneven among different countries.
“We are still facing a wave of trade protectionism and uncertainties in the financial markets. There are concerns that an accelerated transition to a digital economy could widen the gap between social classes. No country can solve these challenges on its own,” he said.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Japan would provide more than US$200 million to secure medical supplies and equipment, as well as technical assistance to research institutes in ASEAN. On economic revitalisation, Japan has provided a total of $2.5 billion in budget support loans to countries.
Following up on the joint statement at the ASEAN+3 special summit on responding to COVID-19 in April, based on collaboration between Japan, China and the RoK, a contribution of $300,000 had been made from the ASEAN+3 Co-operation Fund to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund. In addition, Japan had made its own contribution of $1 million to the fund, he added.
Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang delivered his thanks to the ASEAN countries, Japan and the RoK for offering support to China during the most difficult stages in its fight against COVID-19.
“ASEAN countries have extended assistance to China, and we have done as much as we can to help ASEAN countries. We’ve been there for each other and we are looking out for each other. This is the best demonstration of our solidarity and friendship,” Li said.
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha proposed promoting sustainable economic security, economic integration and supply chain connectivity in the region, and invited the Plus Three Countries to support the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework. — VNS