US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers a speech at the online ASEAN-US Foreign Ministers' Meeting on Thursday. — VNA/VNS Photo
WASHINGTON — The US on Wednesday introduced specific cooperation and support programmes for ASEAN member states, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the US-ASEAN Strategic Partnership.
The programmes focus on four main fields: strengthening public health systems for the future, building connectivity through human capital development, advancing partnerships in economic cooperation, and promoting maritime cooperation for a secure Indo-Pacific.
In the first field, the US continues to be a leader in global health, including providing US$87 million for ASEAN countries to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The US commits to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with ASEAN partners to mitigate the pandemic and strengthen the bloc’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to future zoonotic and other infectious disease outbreaks through several new initiatives such as the USAID’s support for the ASEAN Public Health Emergency Coordination System, and the opening of a Southeast Asia regional office of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Hà Nội.
Regarding the improvement of connectivity through human capital development, the US Government works alongside the private sector to improve the lives and well-being of people across the Indo-Pacific. Programmes focused on people-to-people exchange, science and technology, entrepreneurship, education, technical training, and more are rooted in trust and personal relationships.
The US Department of State is working with the Congress to provide funding for the new Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam in HCM City to offer executive-level capacity-building seminars for entry- to mid-level professionals ages 25-40 from across Southeast Asia around the themes of technology and innovation, public policy, and entrepreneurship.
In terms of economic cooperation, the US shares ASEAN’s concern for the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impact. The country’s support for the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) over the last decade facilitates growing ASEAN trade to the US and intends to link the US electronic customs document system with the ASW. Following the successful second Indo-Pacific Business Forum (IPBF) in Bangkok last November, the country is working with Việt Nam to co-host the third IPBF in the last week of October. The IPBF fosters millions of dollars in corporate deals and builds stronger connections across US and ASEAN private sectors.
Finally, the US is seeking ways to improve maritime cooperation and uphold international law and standards to resolve geopolitical challenges in order to create a more secure Indo-Pacific region.
ASEAN and the US continue to focus on improving Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and collaborating on information sharing best practices, joint and interagency operations, multinational cooperation using the US Department of Transportation SeaVision application, advances in space-based MDA technology, country briefs, and case studies. —VNS