|US Vice President Mike Pence (second, right), Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (centre) and other ASEAN leaders at the 6th ASEAN-US Summit in Singapore on November 15 (
At the event, part of the 33rd ASEAN Summit and related meetings, ASEAN leaders shared the view that over the last 41 years, the two sides have attained considerable progress in their relations when cooperation has been expanded substantively in multiple spheres on the basis of mutual respect, trust and benefits, especially in terms of trade, investment, connectivity, infrastructure development, digital economy, cyber security, marine cooperation, and fight against terrorism and extremist violence.
The US currently ranks third among trade partners and fourth among investors of ASEAN, they noted.
US Vice President Mike Pence affirmed that his country commits to promoting ties with ASEAN and views the bloc as an important partner in the region. He stressed that the US supports ASEAN’s central role and will continue actively taking part in ASEAN-led mechanisms, thus contributing to regional peace, security and stability.
He mentioned the US’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, adding that it respects ASEAN’s principles and wants to enhance cooperation with the grouping in the fields of shared concern.
The US side also announced 60 billion USD in assistance for regional infrastructure development, and that it leaves the possibility of bilateral free trade agreements with ASEAN nations open. The country will also continue to provide the 113 million-USD support package in economy and the other worth 300 million USD in regional security cooperation.
With regard to the East Sea situation, Pence affirmed the US will maintain its presence and contributions to help ensure peace, security, stability, freedom and safety of navigation, and non-militarisation in the East Sea, while preventing confrontations and encouraging relevant parties to fully carry out the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and soon finalise an effective and binding code of conduct (COC) in the waters.
The US also looks forwards to ASEAN’s support for efforts towards complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation in the Korean Peninsula, he added.
Addressing the summit, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc applauded the US’s role and contributions in the region, voicing his hope that ASEAN and the US will keep stepping up dialogue, building trust, highlighting international law, forming and sharing common standards of conduct, and promoting an open, transparent and rule-based regional order.
He urged both sides to bolster fair, equal and win-win economic and trade partnerships.
Regarding the US’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, he reiterated that ASEAN welcomes all initiatives helping with regional peace, stability and cooperation on the basis of respect for the basic principles and central role of the bloc.
PM Phuc also repeated ASEAN’s consistent stance on the East Sea issue, noting that they hope for the US’s continued support for the regional countries’ efforts to increase dialogue and trust; promote self-restraint, non-militarisation, and no use of or threats to use force; peacefully resolve disputes in line with international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea; fully implement the DOC; and build an effective and substantive COC.
At the end of the summit, participating leaders adopted an ASEAN-US statement on cyber security cooperation.