State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi participates in the video conferences of the 36th ASEAN Summit and ASEAN Leaders’ Special Session on Women’s Empowerment in the Digital Age

(Nay Pyi Taw, 26 June 2020)

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar participated in the Opening Ceremony of the 36th ASEAN Summit, the 36th ASEAN Summit and ASEAN Leaders’ Special Session on Women’s Empowerment in the Digital Age which were held via video conferences today at 8 a.m. from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nay Pyi Taw.

The Opening Ceremony commenced with art performances presented by Vietnamese cultural troops. Then, Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and ASEAN Chair of the year 2020 delivered inaugural address and opened the 36th ASEAN Summit.

State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi attended the 36th ASEAN Summit held at 8:30 am. The Meeting was chaired by Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and attended by ASEAN Leaders and the Secretary-General of ASEAN. During the Summit, the ASEAN leaders discussed and exchanged views on matters relating to ASEAN Community Building efforts, ASEAN’s external relations and ASEAN Centrality as well as regional and international issues.

In her intervention, the State Counsellor stated that this year’s Chairmanship’s theme of “Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN” is of great relevance to the needs of today and appropriate as ASEAN is faced with unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19. She added that unsettled regional hotspot issues and emerging tensions and competition among major players are also destabilizing the regional landscape. She also underscored the importance of fostering ASEAN unity, ASEAN centrality and its role as a primary driving force in the evolving regional architecture. She also stressed the need for ASEAN to continue fostering closer cooperation with Dialogue Partners, to strengthen its engagement with external parties and to reach out to new potential partners who can contribute positively to ASEAN unity, ASEAN solidarity and ASEAN Community building efforts.

As the outbreak of the pandemic has severely disrupted global economy and connectivity, the State Counsellor emphasized the urgent need to strengthen collective actions to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, expedite the formulation of an effective and comprehensive plan for pandemic response and recovery, and rebuild people’s confident, health, livelihood and capacity. She added that as the COVID-19 has pushed all of us towards a faster shift to digital technology and digital economy, ASEAN need to fully adapt to and harness the digital revolution and industry 4.0.

In response to remarks made by the Prime Minister of Malaysia on Humanitarian situation in Rakhine State, the State Counsellor stated that Myanmar also shares the concern with regard to the situation in Rakhine State and to the other parts of our country and our region where harmony and stability are of great need. She underscored that human rights have to be founded on good human relations, mutual respect and mutual confidence. She added that ASEAN shares these values, and together ASEAN can work towards a resolution of the problem which affects not just our country or even our whole region but the whole world. She mentioned that terrorism and human trafficking are two of the dangers we face in Rakhine, and terrorism and human trafficking are dangerous issues threatening the whole world as well. She emphasized that ASEAN can work together to address these issues positively and in a way that would promote not just the stability and harmony within our region but across the whole world.

State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also attended ASEAN Leaders’ Special Session on Women’s Empowerment in the Digital Age held at 2 p.m. The Special Session was chaired by Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and attended by ASEAN Leaders, Mdm. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Chairwoman of the National Assembly of Viet Nam, Mdm. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mdm. Armida Salshiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Secretary General of ASEAN.

In her statement, the State Counsellor highlighted the need to double efforts for full and effective implementation of the “ASEAN Declaration on the Gender-Responsive Implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and Sustainable Development Goals” which provides a clear roadmap towards inclusive and gender-equal Community. She also emphasized the importance of speeding up efforts to harness technology for women empowerment and creating more opportunity for women to get involved in designing, executing and monitoring an ASEAN Post Pandemic Recovery Plan.

Making reference to a study suggesting gender-equitable ASEAN would add 28 Trillion USD by 2025, the State Cousellor concluded by stressing the importance of protecting the health and well-being of women, respecting their rights and listening and giving heed to their voices, in order for ASEAN to emerge from COVID-19 as a more gender-equal community where women’s resources are enriched, accumulated and tapped for greater peace and prosperity in our region and beyond.

The ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Representatives of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Representatives of ASEAN Youth and ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Representatives of ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) were also held via video conference.

At the ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Representatives of AIPA, the ASEAN Leaders were led by ASEAN Chair Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam while the Representatives of AIPA were led by Mdm. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Chairwoman of the National Assembly of Viet Nam and President of AIPA-41. As the Myanmar Representative of AIPA, U T Khun Myat, Speaker of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw also participated in the ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Representatives of AIPA.

During the ASEAN Summit, the Leaders issued, adopted and noted (15) documents which include, among others, Chairman’s Statement of the 36th ASEAN Summit, ASEAN Leaders’ Vision Statement on a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN, and ASEAN Declaration on Human Resource Development for the Changing World of Work.

Together with the State Counsellor, Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations U Thaung Tun and Union Minister for International Cooperation U Kyaw Tin were present at the ASEAN Summit and ASEAN Leaders’ Special Session.