Asean, Asean Plus Three set to hold special virtual summits in response to coronavirus pandemic

The virtual meetings were agreed at an Asean coordinating council meeting held on April 9, 2020. PHOTO: ST FILE

HANOI (XINHUA) - Vietnam, Asean's chair for this year, will host two special virtual summits in response to the Covid-19 epidemic on Tuesday (April 14).

The meetings, to be held through video conferencing, will involve the 10 Asean member countries, and the Asean Plus Three meeting that brings in China, Japan and South Korea, said Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung.

The virtual meetings were agreed at an Asean coordinating council meeting held last Thursday.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will chair the summits. China will be represented by Premier Li Keqiang. Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will also take part in the meetings.

Two joint statements are expected to be adopted at the summits, said Mr Dung said on Thursday (April 9).

The statements would affirm the strong commitment and determination of Asean and the Plus Three countries in preventing and eliminating the risks of the pandemic that threaten people's lives and the member states' socio-economic stability, Mr Dung said.

The coordinating council meeting also agreed on recommendations focusing on preventing and controlling the spread of the coronavirus, supporting Asean citizens affected by the pandemic, and mitigating the socio-economic impacts of the disease.

A statement issued on Monday (April 13) by the Prime Minister's Office of Thailand said Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will attend the meetings.

The statement noted that there are more than 10,000 confirmed conronavirus infections in Asean countries.

"Asean leaders will discuss and exchange views on the situation, public health related measures, and collective approaches in mitigating social and economic impact in an efficient manner, both within the region and with the external partners," the PMO statement said.

Said Cambodian Health Minister Mam Bunheng: "The summit shows the leaders' high-level political commitment to stem the virus spread, and it will provide mutual benefit for all sides."

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