Vietnam PM seeks US-ASEAN cooperation in ensuring East Sea security

By Hoang Thuy   May 12, 2022 | 11:29 pm PT
Vietnam PM seeks US-ASEAN cooperation in ensuring East Sea security
Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (L) speaks at a working lunch with representatives of the U.S. Congress at the Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on May 12. Photo by VnExpress/Duong Giang
The U.S. and Southeast Asian nations should collaborate to ensure peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation in the East Sea, the Vietnam PM said.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh made the proposal when joining other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members at a working lunch with representatives of the U.S. Congress at Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on May 12.

The event is part of the ASEAN-U.S. Special Summit in Washington. The main meeting of the summit, held to commemorate the 45th anniversary of ASEAN-U.S. relations, will take place on May 13.

PM Chinh said it is necessary to soon build regular relations on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, between the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) and U.S. parliament to strengthen trust and maintain sincere dialogue in all cooperation fields.

He affirmed that this is the premise for long-term and comprehensive cooperation between parliaments, in order to coordinate policies effectively in response to common challenges.

Chinh suggested the two sides pay attention to cooperation programs for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development, creating conditions for future generations.

He expected the U.S. to coordinate with ASEAN in efforts to narrow the development gap in the region, especially to bring remote areas like the Mekong into the common development flow of countries and the whole region.

The Vietnam PM highly appreciated the companionship and support of the U.S. parliament for the development of ASEAN – U.S. relations over the past 45 years. He thanked the U.S. Congress and American people for supporting ASEAN and Vietnam, in controlling the Covid-19 pandemic in the past two years.

At the reception, leaders of ASEAN countries and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, along with representatives of the U.S. Congress discussed different topics like trade, investment, people-to-people exchanges, science and technology, developing renewable energy, responding to security challenges in the region and globally.

Appreciating the importance of ASEAN to peace, security, stability and development in the region, U.S. lawmakers affirmed their support for ASEAN's central role, pledging further support for the U.S. to continue to participate actively, constructively and responsibly in regional cooperation.

Representatives of the U.S. Congress suggested prioritizing efforts to respond to the pandemic and promote recovery post pandemic, promoting initiatives and cooperation programs in areas of mutual benefit like economy, trade, investment, infrastructure development, education, training, human resource development, digital transformation, energy, response to climate change, contributing to long-term and sustainable development in the region.

U.S. President Joe Biden also welcomed ASEAN leaders at the White House. The Biden administration has announced a $150 million support package for new initiatives, including maritime cooperation and clean energy, in Southeast Asia.

The summit will see ASEAN leaders and the U.S. President review and evaluate the partnership between both sides and set out orientations for developing it further in future.

The two sides will also hold separate and in-depth discussions on cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including the economy, trade, investment, maritime security, post-pandemic response and recovery, climate change response, energy, science and technology, and sustainable infrastructure development.

They are expected to adopt a Joint Vision Statement highlighting achievements of the past 45 years and orientations to promote bilateral relations in the coming time.

ASEAN and the U.S. officially established relations in 1977 and upgraded that to a Strategic Partnership on Nov. 21, 2015. The U.S. established a Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta, Indonesia in June 2010 and appointed a full-time Ambassador to ASEAN in April 2011.

ASEAN-U.S. relations incorporate mechanisms like the annual summit, Foreign Ministers' Meeting, the deputy foreign minister or Senior Officials' Meeting, Joint Cooperation Committee and specialized cooperation conferences and meetings at all levels.

The two sides held a special summit in Sunnylands, U.S. in February 2016, and a summit to celebrate the 40th anniversary of dialogue relations in Manila, capital of the Philippines, in November 2017.

The U.S. is a major trading partner of ASEAN with an estimated total trade of $362 billion last year, nearly double that of 2009. It has also been the bloc’s largest investor for many years.

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