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(June 16, 2020) Vietnam leads Asean into post-virus era

After more than five months of combating Covid-19, the Asean leaders are now ready for the virtual 36th summit on June 26, after a 10-week delay. Senior officials are now putting together a series of action plans that would help all Asean members to move forward in the post-Covid 19 era. In other words, in coming weeks, as the lockdowns are eased or lifted in individual Asean members, the whole region will enter the so-called "new normal" situation. There will be changes and continuity in our regional environment.

At the summit, apart from Asean-related issues, the leaders will take stock of the international and regional situation. Despite the pandemic, existing conflict and strategic competition continues unabated. Of course, topping the agenda is the growing uncertainty resulting from the US-China confrontation, which has now intensified beyond trade and covers the whole gamut of their relations. Other global and regional issues such as climate change, the Korean Peninsula, North Korea's denuclearisation, the South China Sea dispute, the crisis in Rakhine and Mekong cooperation will also be discussed.