11 July 2024

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha this morning called on ASEAN countries to mobilize the energies and efforts of all sectors to jointly fight the novel coronavirus which is ravaging more than half of the countries in the world.

He proposed that ASEAN and its three major dialogue partners – China, Japan and South Korea — jointly establish a COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund. The fund will be used to procure test kits, personal protective equipment and medical tools as well as support research and development in medicines and vaccines to help ASEAN become more self-reliant.

The money for the fund will be diverted from the ASEAN Development Fund and Cooperation Funds with China, Japan, the ROK and ASEAN Plus Three.

 

Prayut made the proposal during a teleconference of the ASEAN leaders, chaired by Vietnam, which was followed by a summit with China, Japan and South Korea to discuss concerted and coordinated efforts to deal with the deadly virus.

During the current crisis, Prayut suggested that ASEAN should build understanding and empathy in its cooperation to facilitate transport of goods and logistics, customs clearance, and border trade.

“This will ensure that our consumers will have access to a sufficient supply of medical tools and equipment, medicines and essential goods in a timely manner during this crisis,” he said.

 

Prayut also pointed out the importance of the role of technology in providing innovative solutions to tackle challenges.

“ASEAN should draw upon the lessons and experiences from this fight against COVID-19 to help build self-immunity to economic impacts from future public health emergencies or environmental challenges. Sufficiency Economy Philosophy is an alternative approach to promote sustainable socio-economic development and enhance internal strengths with an emphasis on self-reliance,” he said.

The prime minister also urged ASEAN to use this opportunity to strengthen regionalism and multilateralism by enhancing multi-stakeholder cooperation within ASEAN and with external partners to address global challenges with unity under the banner of “Team ASEAN”.

“Today, we will survive and tomorrow, we will become stronger and more resilient,” Prayut said.