ASEAN Plus Three Summit: President Jokowi Calls for Stronger Cooperation Amid COVID-19 Outbreak
Date 14 April 2020
Stronger cooperation among ASEAN Plus Three member countries is crucial to build resilience in addressing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
“Today, we gather amid great challenges in facing the COVID-19 outbreak – our “common enemy” – and its continuing impacts that cause the decline in the world economy. This is where we will be re-tested. Will the cooperation we established 21 years ago still be able to maintain our resilience? I am sure the answer is yes,” the President said on Tuesday (14/4) during the ASEAN Plus Three Summit through a video conference from the Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java province.
According to the President, China, Japan and South Korea are among the first countries hit by COVID-19. For this reason, their experiences in handling the disease need to be shared with ASEAN countries, he added.
“ASEAN Plus Three leaders must provide direction to Ministers of Health to continue to coordinate, including stronger cooperation in the procurement and joint production of medical devices and medicines, capacity building of medical personnel under the framework of the Field Epidemiology Training Network, and stronger research collaboration to create anti viruses and vaccines,” the President said.
In anticipation of the pandemic going forward, the President also proposed the establishment of an ASEAN Plus Three Task Force aimed at providing comprehensive measures to strengthen the resilience of the member countries in the face of future pandemic.
“I also propose that we can establish cooperation between the member countries’ drug and pharmaceutical industry, including state-owned companies that produce drugs,” he said.
On that occasion, the President said that stronger cooperation is also needed to boost economic resilience of ASEAN Plus Three member countries. The pandemic, he said, is bound to affect global economy.
“Let us strengthen the ASEAN Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) and the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) must be prepared. ASEAN+3 Emergency Rice Reserve must also be prepared to guarantee food security,” he said, while also calling for stronger cooperation on flows of goods.
Indonesia, according to the President, will also ensure that ports and their logistics support chains will continue to run.
“I would like to emphasize that ASEAN Plus Three member countries must ensure that the region remains the engine of global economic growth. Let us once again show that ASEAN Plus Three is the anchor of resilience in the region,” the President said.
Reviewed by: M. Ersan Pamungkas