Jakarta – President Joko Widodo believes ASEAN member countries can overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic because it has a proven foundation for more than five decades.
“The president conveyed that with the foundation as a strong community and has been built for more than 5 decades, ASEAN has been able to go through difficult times and changing situations,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said at the Bogor Presidential Palace on Friday.
Retno conveyed this after accompanying President Joko Widodo who took part in the ASEAN Summit virtually led by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc as Chair of ASEAN 2020.
“According to the President, the world, including the ASEAN countries, is currently experiencing two major challenges, namely the handling of COVID-19 and its impact, namely its socio-economic problems,” Retno said.
The challenges due to COVID-19 are increasingly severe because the global situation is very dynamic which is marked by increasing competition or rivalry of countries or major powers of the world.
“Including greater pessimism towards multilateralism and rules based orders are increasingly being violated by changes in the current geopolitical conditions. The Indonesian President stressed the important role of ASEAN in navigating this change,” Retno added.
In his report, ASEAN Secretary General Dato Lim Jock Hoi also noted a number of things. First, it is the first time in 23 years that ASEAN has experienced economic contraction due to a pandemic.
But ASEAN countries are considered to have taken steps to mitigate the economic, social impacts of the pandemic along with ASEAN partner countries.
“The ASEAN Secretary General assesses that ASEAN countries have succeeded in taking swift and decisive actions in dealing with this pandemic, quickly coordinating in a solid manner and simultaneously cooperating with partners in the ASEAN Plus Three Summit,” said Retno.
The commitment of cooperation between ASEAN countries at the time of the pandemic was considered still very strong so that it succeeded in encouraging various kinds of cooperation even though each country also experienced difficulties at home.
“In the health sector, for example, ASEAN is working to form a Regional Pandemic Responsive Fund that was discussed both since the ASEAN Summit and the ASEAN Plus Three in April and we are trying to resolve it,” Retno added.
In addition, ASEAN solidarity also allows ASEAN to continue working to advance the ASEAN Community Building in various pillars such as the APSC (Asean Political Security Community) pillar which includes counter terrorism cooperation, transnational crime and also cooperation in the defense sector.
Furthermore, in various economic pillars, cooperation continues to be carried out including trade facilitation through the ASEAN Single Window, operationalization of the “ASEAN-wide Self-Certification Scheme” in order to immediately restore supply chain connectivity that had been disrupted during the pandemic.
“In this economic context there is also a plan to sign the ARCEP (Asean Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) which is a very strong indication of ASEAN’s concerted efforts to support the multilateral trading system,” Retno said.
In addition to cooperation in the pillars of security and economic politics, ASEAN cooperation during this pandemic also continues for the socio-cultural pillar of strengthening human capital development and sustainability in all aspects of cooperation.
“This year is dedicated as the ‘Year of ASEAN Identity initiated by Indonesia and currently we are completing the’ mid term review ‘of the 3′ blueprints’ of the pillars of ASEAN cooperation and we plan to complete them and submit them to the ASEAN committee in November,” explained Retno
Present at the 36th ASEAN Summit were the leaders of the ASEAN countries namely the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Laos Prime Minister Thoungloun Sisoulith, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, Myanmar Chancellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuân Phúc as Chair of ASEAN 2020, and ASEAN Secretary General Dato Lim Jock Hoi. (Ant)
*English by Tokoh.ID system