Early completion of Asean travel corridor framework pushed

<p>Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Quốc Dũng (<em>Photo courtesy of VNA/VNS</em>) </p>

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Quốc Dũng (Photo courtesy of VNA/VNS

HÀ NỘI – Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Quốc Dũng has urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) member states to soon finalize the travel corridor framework for the safe resumption of essential business travel.

The official was speaking while addressing the Asean Joint Consultative Meeting (JCM) on Thursday.

The event took place via videoconference chaired by Brunei, which holds the Asean Chairmanship in 2021.

Participants at the meeting recognized the progress in Asean community-building over the last six months despite the complex coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) situation in the region.

They expressed their countries’ support for Brunei to promote the initiatives and priorities for the Asean this year.

They agreed on the roadmap for building the Asean Community’s post-2025 vision and on the establishment of a high-level drafting group this year.

The meeting also concurred on building an Asean master plan on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and accelerating the Strategic and Holistic Initiative to Link Asean Responses to Emergencies and Disasters (Asean SHIELD).

Officials agreed to step up the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines via UNICEF and the COVAX Facility to supply member countries, asking Asean to promptly use USD10.5 million from its Covid-19 response fund to purchase vaccines.

Stressing the importance of sustainable recovery, the countries highlighted the need for the entire bloc’s engagement in implementing the Asean Comprehensive Recovery Framework, and for supporting enterprises, vulnerable groups, and remote areas in the region.

At the meeting, they welcomed and approved Việt Nam’s initiative to organize an Asean forum on sub-regional cooperation in the third quarter of this year to focus on narrowing the development gap among sub-regions for comprehensive recovery and sustainable development.

They also highly valued the outcomes of the regional conference on the implementation of the Initiative for Asean Integration for 2021–2025, held on May 19 and chaired by Việt Nam.

In his remarks, Deputy Minister Dũng said Asean should prioritize recovering and promoting connectivity by effectively implementing the Asean Comprehensive Recovery Framework and soon finalize an Asean travel corridor arrangement framework to facilitate travel within the bloc.

He also pointed out the Covid-19 pandemic’s impacts on the region, including the widened development gap among sub-regions in Asean.

The official called on member countries to assist remote areas, including the Mekong sub-region, to recover from the pandemic and keep up with the common development pace in the grouping. (VNS