ASEAN member states and the US have reaffirmed their shared commitment to strengthen and build more comprehensive ASEAN-US Dialogue Relations.
The declaration was included in a joint vision statement released at the US-ASEAN Special Summit, the first-ever held in Washington, D.C., on May 12-13 with the participation of the US president and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states.
The tightened relations are aimed to promote peace, security, stability, and prosperity in the region and ensure that relations remain adaptable to meet new challenges; and appropriately cooperate in international and regional fora of which ASEAN member states and the US are members.
The two sides stressed the importance of creating a peaceful environment for strengthening the existing bonds of friendship in keeping with the principles of equality, partnership, consultation, and mutual respect.
|Leaders of the US and ASEAN member states in Washington, D.C. on May 13. Photo: VNA|
Accordingly, they vow to Fight the Covid-19 Pandemic, Building Better Health Security, and Recovering Together; Strengthening Economic Ties and Connectivity; Promoting Maritime Cooperation; Enhancing People-to-people connectivity; Supporting Sub-regional Development; Leveraging Technologies and Promoting Innovation; Addressing Climate Change; and Preserving Peace and Building Trust.
Supporting ASEAN’s pandemic recovery and health security efforts: The countries will strengthen regional and national health systems and capabilities, such as through the ASEAN-US Health Futures initiative, and commit to adequate global financing for pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response, including supporting ongoing efforts with the World Bank and the World Health Organization.
They are also committed to expanding local and regional manufacturing capacity of essential medical products, including through transfer of knowledge; to strengthening health systems through Universal Health Coverage, in particular primary health care and access to essential health services; and training the health workforce for regional and global health security.
Strengthening economic ties and connectivity: They are committed to meet the region’s infrastructure needs by catalyzing investment in high-standard, transparent, low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure projects that advance inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
The countries agreed to promote trade and investment and facilitate resilient global supply chains and seamless regional connectivity, including transport connectivity including air, land, maritime, and transport facilitation program, at the same time improving cybersecurity capabilities, promoting digital literacy and inclusion.
Promoting maritime cooperation: The countries reaffirmed that the UNCLOS sets out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out for national, regional and global action and cooperation in the marine sector and that its integrity needs to be maintained.
They recognized the benefits of having the South China Sea as a sea of peace, stability, and prosperity while underscoring the importance of the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety.
Enhancing people-to-people connectivity: They are committed to investing in human capital development, empowering youth and vulnerable groups, supporting English language, digital skills, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) training in the region, including through the Billion Futures Program and the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI).
They vow to increase access to education while fostering collaboration and exchanges among students and workers. Furthermore, they are committed to empowering women and girls and promoting gender equity and equality.
Supporting sub-regional development by efforts to assist ASEAN Centrality and unity in promoting ASEAN’s sub-regional development, including the Mekong sub-region under the Mekong-US Partnership, which complements the Friends of the Mekong, and supports the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plan IV (2021-2025).
Leveraging technologies and promoting innovation will be promoted through smart manufacturing, blockchain applications, trade facilitation, digital connectivity, digitalization and e-commerce of MSMEs, e-services, digital financial services and regional payment connectivity.
They will support the development of ASEAN’s digital infrastructure, including resilient Information and Communications Technology (ICT) ecosystems and 5G networks.
Addressing climate change aims to advance respective nationally determined contributions (NDC), enhance disaster resiliency, and conserve ASEAN’s rich biodiversity and its natural capital. At the same time, they promote energy transition and resilience in an inclusive and just manner through the facilitation of clean and renewable energy development and the promotion of public-private collaboration to address transition financing needs.
Preserving peace and building trust: They support ASEAN’s efforts to preserve the Southeast Asian region as a Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone and free of all other weapons of mass destruction while reaffirming a shared commitment to the goal of the complete denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
They countries remain deeply concerned over the crisis in Myanmar, continue to support ASEAN’s efforts to facilitate a peaceful solution in the interest of the people of Myanmar. With regard to Ukraine, as for all nations, we continue to reaffirm our respect for sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity.
They look forward to reaching a new level of cooperation and partnership and task their ministers to coordinate the implementation of this Joint Vision Statement.