21st ASEAN PLUS THREE FOREIGN MINISTERS’ MEETING
via Video Conference, 9 September 2020
Thank you very much Minh,
First, I would like to convey my highest appreciation of the commitment of ROK, Japan and China to the establishment of the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund.
I’m a strong believer that APT could remain becoming the anchor for regional resilience including during the difficult time as it always has for more than two decades
Last April, our Leaders agreed on a set of commitments to enhance cooperation among APT countries against this pandemic.
It is our task now to translate their directions into concrete action and ensure its impacts are felt by our people.
And I wish to emphasize two points where the APT should focus its cooperation on
FIRST, the APT must be part of the solution to this pandemic.
There is an urgent need to support development, production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccine within APT countries.
The establishment of the APT Network of Pharmaceutical Industries as proposed by my President would facilitate regional cooperation, including joint vaccine research and production and help sustain sub-region connectivity.
At the same time, we remain keen to move forward with the establishment of the APT Task Force on Pandemic to strengthen regional pandemic preparedness and response.
SECOND, APT must be the prime mover for the region’s economic recovery and resilience.
MSMEs constitute the backbone of ASEAN economies with about 64 million
MSMEs throughout the region and they contribute to 52-97% of total employment in ASEAN countries.
Intervention to help MSMEs are imperative to sustain their operations and jumpstart our economies.
Our Leaders already underlined the importance of leveraging digital technology to support our MSMEs and this is our momentum to strengthen our digital infrastructure including through cooperation within the APT.
Co-Chairs and Colleagues,
I am confident the APT would emerge stronger from this crisis and solidify its status as the engine of global growth.
I thank you very much.