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.