The ACC’s special meeting, initiated by Vietnam as
Chair of ASEAN, was attended by the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN member
countries and the ASEAN Secretary-General.
Chairing the meeting, Vietnamese Deputy Prime
Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said the event was a step to
timely implement the ASEAN Chair’s Statement released on February 14 on the
bloc’s collective response to COVID-19.
Minh stressed that in the face of the epidemic,
ASEAN needs to promote its cohesive and responsive spirit, and intensify
cooperation within the bloc as well as between the bloc and its partners for
the effective response to challenges posed by COVID-19, thus preventing
negative impacts on people’s life and member countries’ development as well
as the process of community building and ASEAN’s joint activities.
Listening to the ASEAN Secretary General’s update on
the COVID-19 epidemic situation and ASEAN’s response so far, the ACC
welcomed the timely and effective measures of member countries, the health
care cooperation channel and ASEAN specialized agencies in sharing
information and experience in preventing, diagnosing, treating and
controlling the disease.
Deputy PM Minh proposed the next steps for ASEAN
based on the ASEAN Chair’s statement, including promoting joint efforts and
actions of the ASEAN Community through the transparent sharing of
information; smooth and effective coordination among relevant agencies in
the ASEAN system and at both national and regional levels as well as
international cooperation for the effectively response to and control of the
He also urged more support for nationals of ASEAN
member countries in needy situations, and mutual trust and help among member
At the same time, Minh suggested pursuing a balanced
approach to combating the epidemic and maintaining open economic
connectivity policies while upholding responsibilities of the Governments in
disseminating precise and timely information related to the epidemic
situation and prevention measures to their citizens and member countries.
The ACC will compile a report on the COVID-19
situation to be submitted to ASEAN leaders at the 36th ASEAN Summit, slated
to take place in Vietnam in April.
On the occasion, Deputy PM Minh affirmed that ASEAN
activities in Vietnam in 2020 will go ahead as schedule, and Vietnam will
take measures to ensure safety for participants.
After the ACC special meeting, the Foreign Ministers
of 10 ASEAN member states and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister
Wang Yi attended another special meeting to discuss ways to cope with the
FM Wang Yi informed the meeting on the situation of
COVID-19 in Wuhan and other localities of China. He thanked the regional
countries and the international community for their material and spiritual
support for China, and pledged to work to ensure the safety and the best
support for ASEAN citizens living, working and studying in China.
ASEAN Foreign Ministers affirmed their solidarity
and support for China’s efforts in combating the epidemic. They offered
sympathy to China for the great losses caused by COVID-19 while expressed
the belief that with the Chinese Government’s resolve, capacity and strong
measures, the country will overcome difficulties and put the epidemic under
The Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and China agreed to
push ahead with the sharing of information and best practice, and help
enhance capacity in diagnosis and research on vaccine and medicine for
COVID-19 through available cooperative channels between the two sides. ASEAN
and China also affirmed that they will try to minimise the epidemic’s
impacts on their respective countries’ socio-economic development while
maintaining economic, trade, investment and tourism exchange between the two
Deputy PM and FM Minh shared Vietnam’s disease
control work and cooperation with China over the recent time in the field,
and pledged that Vietnam will continue to promote effective cooperation
within ASEAN and between ASEAN and partners, especially China, in fighting
At the end of the meeting, the Foreign Ministers of
ASEAN and China passed a statement of the Special ASEAN-China Foreign
Ministers’ Meeting on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)./.