The EAS must prepare to adapt, enhance cooperation amid COVID-19 pandemic – PM Muhyiddin

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 — Malaysia has called on the East Asia Summit (EAS) participating countries to continue cooperating and to jointly address the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking in his intervention at the 15th EAS on Saturday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the year 2020 has been challenging, as the pandemic brought systemic change on how people interact and live their lives.

“This calls for a political will and strong commitment by all parties. As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of EAS, it is imperative for the EAS to continue being a premier Leaders-led forum for political-security and economic cooperation.

“As our nations navigate these unchartered waters during an unprecedented time, it is of the utmost importance that EAS participating countries to continue constructive engagements so that we will all soar to greater heights together,” he said at the summit, which was chaired by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and was held as part of the 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings.

Hosted by Vietnam, the 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings were held via video conference due to the ongoing pandemic.  

Muhyiddin, who led the Malaysian delegation to the virtual meetings from Kuala Lumpur, said it is important to find vaccines and anti-viral medicines in order to prevent the (COVID-19) virus from further spreading.

“It is also important that people around the world have access to these vaccines in an affordable, accessible and equitable basis. Unfair competition and monopoly of anti-viral medication and COVID-19 vaccine must be prevented, in line with the universal creed of right to health,” he said.

Touching on the situation in the Korean Peninsula, he said Malaysia remains consistent on three matters: the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, adherence to relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, and the  resumption of dialogue between the relevant parties.

The EAS comprises 10 ASEAN Member States, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, and the United States.

ASEAN, established in 1967, comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

— BERNAMA

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