ASEAN Summit Begins Online Meetings with Regional Leaders



Hau Dinh | Associated Press

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam’s prime minister highlighted challenges Southeast Asian nations and others faced this year as he opened a regional summit Thursday that is again largely being held online due to the pandemic.

The biannual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, chaired by Vietnam this year, is expected to focus on a wide range of topics, including South China Sea disputes, the coronavirus and trade. The spread of the virus was apparent with Cambodia being represented by its deputy prime minister rather than long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is self-quarantining after being exposed to a visiting minister who had the virus.

During his remarks at the opening ceremony, which was livestreamed to ASEAN leaders watching from their respective countries, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlighted challenges being faced during a year of unparalleled health crisis and regional instability.

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