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Thailand Proposes Three Paths to Advance ASEAN in the Post-COVID-19 Era

26 June 2020 (Readers 361)

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, in his participation in the 36th ASEAN Summit via a teleconference on 26 June 2020, proposed three paths for action to advance ASEAN in the post-COVID-19 era.

The proposal was made in his statement delivered at the summit, which was attended by leaders of the 10 ASEAN member states and the ASEAN Secretary General.

First, "More connected ASEAN: The Prime Minister urged member states to urgently make ASEAN truly connected by accelerating the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 and promoting connectivity and green infrastructure development as to create seamless and sustainable ASEAN. He also called on ASEAN to start considering shared paths in easing measures that have become obstacles to traveling in order to help restore businesses and people-to-people connectivity.

Second, "Stronger ASEAN by "building strength from within: through advancing economic integration and expediting the signing of RCEP within this year so that ASEAN recovers economically. The Prime Minister also proposed promotion of investment in digital infrastructure as the digital economy is crucial key that will increase the value of ASEANs GDP. ASEAN must also build its strength on biodiversity by using technology and innovation to produce high valued goods and services as well as environmentally friendly, in line with "Business Model BCG.

Third, an "ASEAN with an Enhanced Immunity: The Prime Minister called on ASEAN to prepare for volatilities and challenges that could arise in the future by creating long-term immunity. He also expressed support for all three main pillars of the ASEAN Community Council to start developing a recovery plan in order to set path building immunity for ASEAN in the future and building upon the success which ASEAN has collectively achieved. The said plan should cover the issues of health, food, human security and human rights problems.

The Prime Minister stated that the spread of COVID-19 pandemic has transformed Thailand and the global community into the "new normal way of life, while the world is also moving into a volatile geopolitical phase which has impacted international security and stability. ASEAN should cooperate to counter these trends by strengthening regionalism and the spirit of giving and sharing, as well as preserving ASEAN Centrality in the regional architecture to avoid being forced to take sides.

He also emphasized that Thailand has applied the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy, which stresses building strength from foundation and taking moderation, reasonableness, and good immunity into consideration, along with the sustainable development agenda. In addition, the COVID-19 crisis has clearly demonstrated that ASEAN must uphold putting people at the center and gives importance to looking after every group of the population, particularly vulnerable groups which include migrant workers.

In closing, the Prime Minister adopted the "ASEAN Leaders Vision Statement on a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN and expressed Thailands determination in intensifying ASEANs cooperation and solidarity, while seeking partnerships with external partners to be able to respond to all internal and external challenges from now on in an effective manner.

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