While being preoccupied with containing the coronavirus in its own territory – to some considerable success thus far – Vietnam has also made efforts to raise the ASEAN flag, Hoang Thi Ha, Lead Researcher (Political & Security Affairs) at the ASEAN Studies Centre, ISEAS Yusof-Ishak Institute, Singapore, wrote in an article posted on “The Diplomat”.
“It issued the ASEAN Chair’s statement on the outbreak on February 14, highlighting the urgency of the problem and committing to ASEAN’s collective response. The statement listed measures which, if implemented, could complement ASEAN member states’ national responses to the epidemic,” she wrote.
Vietnam is trying to lead by example, contributing medical supplies to Laos and Cambodia, as well as testing kits to Indonesia, Ha noted.
The provision of such aid from Vietnam is not surprising and Vietnam continues to play a major role in the sub-region including through assistance to Laos and Cambodia, who wrote journalist Prashanth Parameswaran, a Senior Columnist at “The Diplomat”.
Besides the regional nations, Vietnam also presented 650,000 face masks to six European countries, namely France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and Sweden, to support their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new coronavirus assistance highlights Vietnam-EU relations amid COVID-19, Parameswaran wrote on “The Diplomat.”
The aid illustrates Ha Noi’s continued willingness to assist other countries on a bilateral and multilateral basis to the best of its abilities even as it continues to remain vigilant about managing its own coronavirus challenge at home, he added.
|The “face mask diplomacy” could further boost Vietnam’s economy as well as its diplomatic standing in the region. (Photo: ASEAN Today)|
In addition, Vietnam also donated 200,000 antibacterial cloth face masks to the US government and people. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also presented 50,000 medical face masks to the White House.
“By donating hundreds of thousands of face masks to its Southeast Asian neighbors and European countries as well as selling protective equipment to the US, Vietnam has earned the gratitude and trust of world leaders,” journalist John Pennington wrote in an article posted on the “ASEAN Today.”
The “face mask diplomacy” could further boost Vietnam’s economy as well as its diplomatic standing in the region, Pennington added.
"Vietnam’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as its diplomacy amid crisis, will enable it to demonstrate its value-added to the world,” said Derek Grossman, a senior defense analyst at the US-based RAND Corporation.
Sharing Grossman’s view Prof. Alexander Vuving, at the Daniel K Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii, was quoted by David Hutt as saying in an article run by the “Asia Times” that: “The coronavirus pandemic has been a great opportunity for Vietnam to enhance its soft power, as it helped to broadcast Vietnam’s generous behavior toward the international community.”
Source: The World & Vietnam Report, April 24th, 2020