16 Oct 2020
ASEAN and Japan’s senior officials met during the virtual ASEAN-Japan Forum to discuss cooperation in the COVID-19 response and economic recovery, especially Japan's support on the establishment of ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases as well as USD 1M contribution to COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund.
On 14 October 2020, H.E. Mr. Chutintorn Gongsakdi, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, attended the 35th ASEAN-Japan Forum via video conference. H.E. Mr. Mori Takeo, Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and SOM Leader of Japan, also attended.
The Meeting discussed ASEAN-Japan cooperation in various dimensions, particularly cooperation in the COVID-19 response and towards economic recovery. ASEAN appreciated Japan’s support on the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (PHEED) and looked forward to the formal announcement of its establishment at the 23rd ASEAN-Japan Summit in November 2020. ASEAN also appreciated Japan’s contribution of 1 million USD to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund. The Meeting agreed to concretise cooperation under the ASEAN-Japan Economic Resilience Action Plan and other economic mechanisms.
Japan proposed to promote practical cooperation between ASEAN and Japan in the key areas in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). In this connection, ASEAN expressed its support for Japan’s proposal to submit the Joint Statement on Japan-ASEAN cooperation on AOIP to the upcoming ASEAN-Japan Summit this November.
Thailand, as the incoming Country Coordinator of ASEAN-Japan Dialogue Relations (in 2021-2023), proposed to refocus areas of cooperation under the AOIP by highlighting economic cooperation, human security, public health, human capital development, and environmental protection. Thailand emphasised that ASEAN and Japan should aim to develop MSMEs, start-ups and local entrepreneurs, who are the engines of growth. Thailand also encouraged Japan to cooperate further on projects with various ASEAN Centers in Thailand, such as the ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue (ACSDSD) and the ASEAN Centre for Active Ageing and Innovation (ACAI).
Both sides also exchanged their views on regional and international issues, including the situation in the South China Sea and on the Korean Peninsula where Japan emphasised that its position on these issues remain unchanged under Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide’s administration.