Nov 14, 2020 / 14:40

ASEAN remains central to US free and open Indo-Pacific: White House

Washington has reaffirmed its commitment to prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific.

The White House has affirmed that the US has long been a friend of ASEAN and is pleased to mark the fifth anniversary of the United States-ASEAN Strategic Partnership.

 The 8th ASEAN-US Summit opens in Hanoi on November 14. Photo: VGP

“ASEAN remains central to President Trump’s vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Department of State said in a statement.

Meanwhile, speaking at the virtual remarks at the 8th ASEAN-US Summit held in Hanoi on November 14, the US's National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien, Special Envoy of US President Donald Trump at the summit, reaffirmed the US's commitment to prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific.

For its part, ASEAN welcomes the US's significant contributions to the maintenance of peace, stability, security, and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

According to Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Robert O'Brien said at the summit that the ASEAN-US partnership is based on mutual interest and respect to one another’s sovereignty that closely follows the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).

ASEAN member states and the US has agreed to promote multi-sectoral cooperation to strengthen the strategic partnership which was set up in 2015.

The US once again affirmed the ASEAN Centrality in the region is in line with Washington’s interests, contributing significantly to the relations.

 Leaders of ASEAN member states and the US at the summit. Photo: Viet Linh

Promoting strategic partnership

Over the past five years, the two sides have boosted cooperation in science, health care, education, and security.

In 2019, two-way trade reached more than US$292 billion, making the US the second-largest trade partner of ASEAN and ASEAN the fourth-largest trade partner of the US, Robert O'Brien said at the summit.

In the same year, US foreign direct investment (FDI) into ASEAN climbed to US$330 billion, making them the largest investor in the 10-member bloc.

ASEAN affirmed to facilitate the investment of more than 4,200 American firms, including 350 giant corporations, especially those specializing in infrastructure, clean energy, hi-tech, and digital economy.

Over the past 15 years, the US has poured US$2 billion into education and culture with ASEAN.

The US has invested roughly US$3.5 billion in improving public health capacities in ASEAN member states over the past two decades. Washington has pledged to promote the operations of the ASEAN-US Health Future Initiatives.

At the summit, the US highlighted the upgrade of Mekong-US relations to strategic partnership.

The two sides agreed to tighten cooperation in the post-pandemic recovery to maintain the supply chain.

Over the past year, the US also funded US$5 million for the establishment of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) in Vietnam Fulbright University.

A joint statement on human resource development has been approved and the chairman’s statement on the 8th ASEAN-US Summit has been released at the summit.