At Thai Khu Fah Building, Government House, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha attended the ASEAN+3 Special Summit via a video conferencing to discuss COVID-19 situation. Prof. Narumon Pinyosinwat, Government Spokesperson, disclosed gist of the meeting as follows:
The Prime Minister and other ASEAN leaders commended leaders of the +3 countries (China, Japan, and South Korea) for their effort and effective measures against COVID-19 which could considerably decrease the number of infected patients and deaths. All the leaders came to terms that COVID-19 situation is a global crisis that has impacted all sectors in the society.
The Prime Minister, in his statement at the ASEAN+3 Special Summit, proposed 3 significant approaches:
1.Establishing “COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund” by allocating the existing funds from the ASEAN Development Fund and Cooperation Funds with China, Japan, the ROK and ASEAN Plus Three or another agreed upon rate, to handle both the short-term impact (i.e., procurement of test kits, PPEs, and related medical equipment), and the long-term impact (i.e., research and development of new vaccines and medicines).
2.Optimizing existing ASEAN+3 mechanisms, especially public health mechanism, to develop the Big Data, and promoting use of information technology in providing innovative solutions to tackle pandemic and other future challenges. The Prime Minister also proposed for the ASEAN Secretariat and the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) to compile and exchange information on related policies and measures of each country, and to make the most use of Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) in a bid to mitigate negative impact, and regain regional economic and financial stability, where necessary.
3.Providing guidance and knowledge on the role of digital technologies in various dimensions, which has been agreed upon by the ASEAN+3 leaders last year. Promoting wider use of digital economy, new technologies, and e-commerce to help out business sector, especially MSMEs, and promoting cooperation among member countries to reduce negative impact of fake news.
Lastly, the Prime Minister emphasized that close partnership and sustainable development in all dimensions would lead everyone out of the crisis. Thailand stands ready to cooperate under the ASEAN+3 framework in order for all the countries in the region to recuperate and move forward in a strong and stable manner. According to the Prime Minister, “We will overcome the COVID-19 crisis together”. – April 14, 2020 (Thaigov.go.th)