ASEAN and the US share benefits and responsibilities in maintaining peace, stability, security, and free navigation in the South China Sea (called East Sea by Vietnam).
Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son gave the remarks at the online ASEAN-US Ministerial Meeting held today [August 4], under the framework of the 54th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-54) and related events.
|Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son at the meeting. Source: MoFA|
“All parties should show goodwill for cooperation and act responsibly to ensure a peaceful, secure and safe East Sea,” Son said while reaffirming ASEAN’s stance on the East Sea with a focus on building trust, refraining from militarization, and resolving territorial disputes based on international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
“There should be greater efforts in effectively and fully implementing the Declaration of Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and soon finalizing the Code of Conduct for East Sea (COC) that is in line with the 1982 UNCLOS,” he added.
Son expected the US to continue supporting the bloc’s efforts in maintaining peace, security, and free navigation in the East Sea, as well as in the search for a long-term solution for Myanmar.
On this occasion, Son also called for the deepening of US-ASEAN relations, especially as the US is a major contributor to the global response against the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.
Son expressed his thanks to the US for donating Covid-19 vaccines for ASEAN, including Vietnam while calling for the US to continue providing sufficient vaccines and transferring vaccine technologies to the region.
According to Son, Vietnam expected the US to assist ASEAN countries in enhancing public health capabilities via its regional representative office in Vietnam.
“ASEAN is willing to create favorable conditions for US companies to expand investment and business activities here,” he noted.
Another issue pointed out by the Vietnamese foreign minister is the importance of narrowing the development gap within ASEAN and securing sustainable growth in sub-region, including the Mekong, in which the US could play a big part via the Mekong-US Partnership.
|Overview of the meeting.|
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated the Biden administration gives priority to its strategic partnership with ASEAN, supporting the bloc’s central role in the region and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).
Blinken said the US willingness to continue further bilateral relations based on mutual trust towards prosperity and inclusive development.
The US Secretary said his country would continue to play a leading role in pushing for multilateral cooperation in the Covid-19 response, along with boosting the production capacity of vaccines.
According to Blinken, the US so far has donated $160 million and would continue to provide further support to countries in the region.
At the meeting, foreign ministers stressed the ASEAN-US relations have progressed positively in the past years despite the Covid-19 impacts.
In 2020, bilateral trade turnover stood at $308.3 billion, making the US ASEAN’s second-largest trading partner. The US remains the largest investor in ASEAN with $34.7 billion.
ASEAN and the US agreed on priorities to fight the pandemic and support sustainable recovery, focusing on trade/investment cooperation, digital transformation, and renewables.