The 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA 41), themed “Parliamentary Diplomacy for a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community”, opened online in Hanoi on Tuesday. AIPA 41 is chaired by Vietnam’s National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.
The opening ceremony was attended by Vietnamese Prime Minister and ASEAN Chair for 2020 Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Vietnamese Party and State leaders, ambassadors, and international organizations.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Ms. Ngan said this is the first time in its 43-year history that the AIPA General Assembly has been held online. She said this shows the determination of ASEAN parliaments to protect people’s well-being and promote cooperation and sustainable development within the ASEAN Community despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We highly appreciate the themes of the AIPA 41 discussions, which are topical and strategic. Parliaments need to join efforts with governments to stamp out the coronavirus, revive economic activities, stabilize people’s lives, and promote ASEAN cooperation. For ASEAN development until 2025 and beyond, AIPA members pledge to promote solidarity, cooperation, responsibility, and mutual understanding, and promise to respect each country’s laws as well as international law,” said Madam Ngan.
In his online speech to AIPA 41, Vietnamese Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong said, “It’s more essential than ever for AIPA to promote ASEAN centrality in a revolving regional structure, multilateralism, international cooperation, and the rule of law for regional and global peace, stability, and prosperity. With the slogan ‘Think communally and act communally’, ASEAN aims to become a strong, united, and cohesive bloc with international prestige centering on the people.”
As this year’s ASEAN Chair, Prime Minister Phuc emphasized AIPA’s role in regional development, “The ASEAN executive and legislative bodies continue to work together to fulfill the ASEAN master plan’s three pillars: politics, economics, and culture and society. ASEAN pays due attention to promoting economic cooperation, enhancing internal links, narrowing development gaps, and integrating ASEAN resolutions into each country’s development program.”
Mr. Phuc added, “I hope parliamentarians will contribute ideas to building a post-2025 ASEAN community centered on its people. The parliaments and governments of ASEAN countries will go hand in hand towards a law-governed community that embraces equality and mutual respect.”
Meetings of the Women Parliamentarians of AIPA (WAIPA) and the AIPA Young Parliamentarians were also held on Tuesday.