Global Health Diplomacy in the ASEAN Region

On Wednesday, June 3, 2020, the Meridian Corporate Council hosted a Global Business Briefing with H.E. Jose Manuel Romauldez, Ambassador of the Philippines to the United States, and H.E. Ha Kim Ngoc, Ambassador of Vietnam to the United StatesMr. Mike Train of Emerson Electric provided introductory remarks. Mr. Train is President and Chairman of Emerson Electric Company, which employs 6,000 people in the ASEAN region, out of its 88,000 employees around the globe. The discussion focused on global health diplomacy in the ASEAN region, with attention to the partnerships between the U.S., Vietnam and the Philippines.  

His Excellency Jose Manuel Romualdez was named the Philippines’ Ambassador to the U.S. in July 2017. Before his appointment as ambassador, H.E. Romualdez was designated as a special envoy of the Philippine President to the United States and served as a member of several Philippine business delegations visiting the United States, China, Japan and New Zealand. His Excellency Ha Kim Ngoc was named Vietnam’s Ambassador to the United States in March 2018. Prior to moving to Washington, DC, H.E. Ngoc served as Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in charge of relations with countries in the Americas, including the United Statesthe United Nationsand other international organizations. 

H.E. Romualdez opened the hourlong discussion with remarks on the Philippines’ work to address COVID-19, indicating that the strict lockdown (Enhanced Community Quarantine) saved lives, but resulted in significant economic loss. The Philippines’ five-pillar strategy to address COVID-19 stimulates construction of critical infrastructure, implements contract tracing, and supports value chains for logistics and manufacturing. The Philippines entered 2020 with strong economic growth which gave a degree of resilience, and the country expects to make full economic recovery by mid-year 2021. H.E. Ngoc continued by emphasizing Vietnam’s remarkable achievement in addressing COVID-19, with only 328 confirmed cases and zero deaths from COVID-19. He further illustrated that Vietnam is a leader in ASEAN with its distribution of PPE to the U.S., Europe and the world, thanks to its resilient supply chain.  

Healthcare will be the center of continued partnership between the U.S., Vietnam and the Philippines following the COVID-19 crisis. The U.S. is a leader in medical research and development for COVID-19 vaccine technology, and Southeast Asia is home to many of the world’s supply chains for PPE and other valuable healthcare supplies. Health is wealth, and the future provides rich opportunity for strengthened public-private sector healthcare partnerships between U.S. and ASEAN nations. 

Project summary

Global Health Diplomacy in the ASEAN Region | June 2020
Number of Attendees: 65
Regions: East Asia and Pacific
Countries: Vietnam, Philippines, United States
Impact Areas: Business and Trade, Global Health
Program Areas: Convening
Partners: Public Sector, Diplomatic Corps, Private Sector