ASEAN holds special summit on response to COVID-19 pandemic

Leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Tuesday morning met via videoconference to deliberate on a strategy to combat and overcome the COVID-19 crisis, ensuring peaceful life of people and sustainable development of countries in the region.

In his capacity as ASEAN Chair 2020, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc chaired the virtual summit, attended by the heads of state or government of the 10 ASEAN members- Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and the ASEAN secretary-general, Xinhua news agency reported.

The leaders are expected to focus their discussions on containing and preventing the spread of COVID-19, supporting people in the countries hit by the disease, including providing consular assistance to ASEAN citizens living, working and studying in other ASEAN nations or a third country, and minimizing socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic.

They are also expected to adopt a joint statement on COVID-19 response reaffirming their commitment and determination in eliminating the pandemic's risks which threaten people's lives and socio-economic stabilization of the nations.

On Tuesday afternoon, the virtual Special ASEAN along with China, Japan and South Korea (ASEAN Plus Three) Summit on COVID-19 Response will be held, touching upon measures to respond to and repel the global pandemic.

At the summit, the heads of state or government of the 10 ASEAN members, China, Japan and South Korea, the ASEAN secretary-general and the World Health Organization director-general are poised to elaborate actions and initiatives to bolster cooperation on winning the war against COVID-19, and ensure the region's dynamic and sustainable development in the long run.

They are expected to adopt a joint statement on COVID-19 response after sharing relevant practical experiences and discussing potential cooperation among ASEAN countries, as well as between the block and its three dialogue partners, especially cooperation on preventing and containing the global pandemic.

The two summits are taking place at a time when COVID-19 continues striking many countries around the world, including ASEAN nations, posing a grave threat to the human health and safety, while fueling worries about its huge impact on economy regionally and globally. (ANI)