Hosted by Vietnam, this year’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit was held online with a focus on coronavirus measures.

In a statement on Friday, the bloc said policies on combating COVID-19, the South China Sea issue, and the North-South Korea tension were discussed by leaders.

A joint statement issued at the end of the meeting reaffirmed “strong commitment to alleviate the adverse impact of the COVID19 pandemic on our people’s livelihood, societies, and economies, through the implementation of a comprehensive recovery plan with a view to improving stability and resilience of the regional economy, preserving supply chain connectivity, while staying vigilant of a second wave of infections.”

They also addressed “employment and unemployment issues during the time of unprecedented crisis, upskill and reskill existing workforce, and promote social protection while promoting demand-led employment strategy.”

They stressed “the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation and over-flight above the South China Sea.”

The summit originally scheduled for April was postponed due to the pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives across the world.

A regional grouping that promotes economic, political, and security cooperation among its members, ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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