US Secretary of State Mike Pompeoon. AFP/VNA Photo
WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on September 11 issued a press statement affirming the enduring commitment to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
In the statement, Pompeo said America has long been a friend to ASEAN countries. The ASEAN Outlook for the Indo-Pacific and the US Indo-Pacific Strategy share a respect for sovereignty, the rule of law, transparency, openness, and inclusivity. These shared principles form the core of the US work with ASEAN and are the basis for this week’s launch of the Mekong-US Partnership. The US reiterates its support for ASEAN as the bloc speaks with a strong, collective voice to advance these shared values.
According to the Secretary of State, at the ASEAN-US Foreign Ministers’ meeting recently, he reaffirmed US support for ASEAN’s role at the heart of the Indo-Pacific. The US underscored its commitment to speak out against escalating aggression and threats to sovereign nations’ ability to make free choices.
The US stands with its ASEAN partners and persists with the rule of law and respect for sovereignty in the South China Sea (called the East Sea in Việt Nam) where there have been aggressive campaigns of coercion and environmental devastation.
The US affirmed its support for transparency and respect in the Mekong region as well as open and rules-based economic growth.
“The US stands with our ASEAN partners in combating COVID-19 and enabling regional economic recovery. Building on the US-ASEAN Health Futures initiative and the over US$87 million in US government assistance to fight COVID-19, including the delivery so far of 850 ventilators to Indonesia and 100 to the Philippines, we are announcing additional USAID support for One Health Workforce-Next Generation to help ASEAN countries prepare for, prevent, detect, and respond to public health emergencies. Additionally, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expanding its engagement through a new CDC regional office in Hanoi and the US-ASEAN Smart Cities Partnership is launching initiatives in health, along with new agreements in water management and transportation,” the statement wrote.
To continue promoting economic prosperity in the region, the US, through the US Development Finance Corporation, is investing in needed infrastructure. The US will also co-host with Việt Nam the third Indo-Pacific Business Forum to foster millions of dollars in US investment in an open, transparent, and rules-based manner.
To promote human capital development and provide people with skills and knowledge to participate and compete in the global economy, the US Department of State intends to provide $5 million for the new Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV) in HCM City.
According to the statement, as the US expands its strategic partnership with ASEAN, the US must also address some of the critical challenges facing the region. The US continues to urge the North Korea to end provocations, abide by its obligations under the UNSCRs, and engage in sustained negotiations to achieve complete denuclearisation. The US expresses concerns over the continued violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State and call for a cessation of fighting, negotiated solution, and deepened efforts to address root causes of violence to facilitate the dignified, safe, voluntary, and sustainable return of IDPs and refugees. VNS