The East Asia Summit (EAS) Senior Officials’ Meeting was held on 24 June 2021 via videoconference. It was chaired by Emaleen Abd Rahman Teo, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brunei Darussalam, and attended by senior officials from ASEAN Member States, Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Russian Federation and the United States of America. The ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Political Security Community was also present.
The Meeting underscored the important role of the EAS for promoting dialogue and cooperation on issues of interest which will contribute to enhancing peace, stability and prosperity in East Asia. Emphasis was placed on collective efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic, especially to ensure the accessibility of COVID-19 vaccines and overcoming its socio-economic impacts. ASEAN’s partners in the EAS were encouraged to support and contribute to ASEAN initiatives such as the Comprehensive Recovery Framework, the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund and the ASEAN Regional Reserve for Medical Supplies.
Progress continues to be made to implement the Plan of Action particularly in the areas of health, natural disaster management, connectivity, environment and energy, education, economic cooperation and trade as well as maritime cooperation. Noting that the current Plan of Action will expire in 2022, the Meeting agreed to develop a new Action Plan that will include ways to advance the recovery efforts post COVID-19 and address emerging issues such as climate change and renewable energy.
Recognising that mental health is a critical public health issue that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Meeting expressed support for Brunei Darussalam’s proposed EAS Leaders’ Statement on Mental Health. The Meeting also welcomed the convening of the EAS Workshop on Mental Health Cooperation to be co-hosted by Brunei Darussalam and Australia later this year.
The Meeting re-affirmed the commitment of the EAS to promote an open, inclusive, transparent and rules-based regional architecture, especially in dealing with challenges of common concern.
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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN was founded on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok by the five original Member Countries; Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam joined ASEAN on 7 January 1984