US President wishes for closer ties with ASEAN

US President Donald Trump has expressed his wish to further tighten ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries.

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Meeting ASEAN leaders on the sidelines of the 31st ASEAN Summit held in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, on November 13, Trump vowed to promote his vision for "a free and open Indo-Pacific region". 

Highlighting the 40th anniversary of the US-ASEAN relations this year, Trump said his administration remains committed to ASEAN's central role as a regional forum for total cooperation.

This diplomatic partnership advances the security and prosperity of the American people and the people of all Indo-Pacific nations, he said. 

In a draft of the chairman's statement to be issued after the meeting, the two sides expressed grave concern about the unprecedented number of nuclear and ballistic missile tests the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted last year in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions banning it from conducting nuclear and missile activities.

The US and ASEAN leaders criticised the DPRK's disregard for international law, saying it calls into question the country's sincerity in having meaningful dialogue on the real issues facing the Korean Peninsula. 

The same day, spokesperson of the Philippine President Harry Roque said ASEAN member states wish to reach a peaceful solution to disputes in the East Sea. 

Earlier, Trump had a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, focusing on the Korean issue and the Indo-Pacific region.

He also met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whose country holds ASEAN's rotating chairmanship this year.

The Philippines is the last leg of Trump's Asia tour, which has taken him to Japan, the Republic of Korea, China and Vietnam. It is his first trip to the region since taking office in January.

VNA

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