Keynote Speech on Viet Nam’s 2020 ASEAN Chairmanship
By H.E. Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of Viet Nam
(Hanoi, 6 January 2020)

Distinguished guests,

Fellow citizens of the ASEAN Community,

1. Along with the rest of the world, the ASEAN Community is celebrating the New Year 2020 amidst blooming spring with renewed hopes for a brighter time ahead. It gives me great pleasure to wish all distinguished guests and the ASEAN fellow citizens good health, happiness and success.

Throughout its 25 years of ASEAN membership, Viet Nam has always made active and responsible contributions to ASEAN cooperation. The growth of the community bears the hallmarks of Viet Nam’s work. In 2020, Viet Nam will assume major responsibilities at the regional and international level, notably the ASEAN Chairmanship. Such a responsibility gives Viet Nam an opportunity to contribute more substantively to the building and growth of a harmonious, resilient, innovative, cohesive, responsible and adaptive ASEAN Community.
Ladies and gentlemen,

2. Previously a region of strife and differences, ASEAN has become a united group of independent countries enjoying great progress and growth, where 650 million people call home. Our economy is ranked as the third most dynamic economy in the world, boasting a total GDP of $2.95 trillion in 2018. ASEAN has signed 6 FTAs with 7 top partners in the world, thus reinforcing its centrality in the regional architecture. These achievements have earned ASEAN the recognition of major powers and partners in the world.

Against the backdrops of fierce competition and unpredictable changes in the region and the world, ASEAN needs to fully capitalise on these opportunities and effectively adapt to emerging challenges. To this end, cohesion and responsiveness shall be key. An ASEAN working in cohesion, unity and solidarity to build the community shall overcome all challenges and achieve sustainable development as proved by reality of the past 50 years. Furthermore, this lays the foundation for ASEAN to assert its centrality in the region and its position as a huge market for new ideas and innovative start-ups and an attractive destination for global investors.

3. As the ASEAN 2020 Chair, Viet Nam will build on the achievements and the efforts of previous ASEAN Chairs and work with fellow members in identifying future directions for the ASEAN Community until 2025 and beyond. In this connection, allow me to share my thoughts as follows:

First, peace, stability, solidarity, unity, prosperity and sustainability shall remain the purpose, the identity and the overarching goal of the ASEAN Community. These values pave the way for ASEAN to forge for itself a new image, new standing and new role in the spirit of making active and responsible contributions to dialogue and cooperation at the global level.

Second, the ASEAN Community shall foster seamless connectivity and deepen integration within and beyond the region, on the basis of innovation, stability and the growing influence of the 4th Industrial Revolution upon the social and economic life of the entire community. The ASEAN Community shall serve as a model of circular economy, endowed with new vigor.

Third, the ASEAN Community shall become more resilient through effective climate change adaptation and response, and better management of natural disasters, pollution and plastic waste. It shall become a liveable place, with a burgeoning network of smart cities and strong social welfare. It shall possess a high-quality workforce in the digital era through quality educational system and strategies for sustainable development and equal opportunity for all, so as to leave no one behind.

Fourth, its fundamental documents enable the organs of ASEAN Community to maintain sensible, effective and vigorous operation and better serve the ASEAN Community and its people.

To realize these aspirations and foster our future together, each member and every citizen needs to make every effort to contribute to the common works of ASEAN, from the smallest of acts.

Let us think Community, act Community, and share the Community values. There are no ties more enduring than those connecting our hearts. Let our efforts take ASEAN far and wide, and at the same keep ASEAN close to our hearts.
Ladies and gentlemen,

4. The theme of ASEAN 2020 is “Cohesive and Responsive”, which is supported by the five priorities for 2020, identified with a view to meet the long-term goals of ASEAN. They involve: (i) to actively contribute to a regional environment of peace, security and stability; (ii) to bring prosperity through regional integration and connectivity, heighten ASEAN’s adaptability to the 4th Industrial Revolution to grasp opportunities; (iii) to raise the awareness of ASEAN Community and Identity; (iv) to strengthen partnerships for peace and sustainable development, and promote the role and contribution of ASEAN in the international community; and (v) enhance the capacity and operational efficiency of ASEAN.

Viet Nam will make every effort to collaborate with fellow members to successfully accomplish the priorities of ASEAN 2020. This shall serve as our contribution towards a brighter future for ASEAN.
Ladies and gentlemen,

5. Viet Nam has made active preparations for the ASEAN 2020 Chairmanship and stands ready to bolster the growth of the ASEAN Community with fellow members. In just a few minutes, the ASEAN 2020 website will officially go online, heralding the entrance of ASEAN into the 3rd decade of the 21st century, bringing ASEAN 2020 closer to the people and communicating the “ASEAN Community spirit” to all.

6. I would like to take this opportunity to commend all Vietnamese agencies from the central to local level for their active preparations for ASEAN 2020. Throughout this year, it is of great necessity that the ASEAN 2020 National Secretariat, relevant Ministries, agencies and localities ensure integrity, professionality, due care, and effectiveness in their work. In so doing, our tenure as ASEAN Chair shall be successful in all regards, from providing substantive deliverables, being impeccable in protocol and logistics to ensuring safety and security.
As befitting of an “ASEAN citizen”, each Vietnamese citizen, through their action, shall spread the messages of a friendly, cordial, and hospitable Viet Nam that welcomes all future partners with open arms.

7. It is my wish that fellow ASEAN members shall join hands in supporting and building the ASEAN Community of solidarity, resilience and prosperity.

I look forward to the support and collaboration from our partners in the work of ASEAN and Viet Nam this year for a region of peace, security, development and progress. I would also like to thank the ASEAN Secretariat and look forward to their continued excellent cooperation.

Given our solidarity and strong commitment, we will realize our goals for the ASEAN Community and its people.

Welcome to ASEAN – Viet Nam 2020!