The meeting saw the presence of delegates from the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), US Delegation to the ASEAN, ASEAN Secretariat and several US agencies.

Both sides expressed their satisfaction with the outcomes of the ASEAN-US Action Plan for 2016-2020, as well as agreements and commitments reached at the US-ASEAN Special Leaders’ Summit in Sunnylands in February 2016 and the fourth ASEAN-US Summit in September 2016, particularly those involving five priority areas, namely economic connectivity, marine cooperation, response to trans-national challenges, mentorship for young leaders and increasing capacity of women.

At the meeting. Photo: vietnam+ 
The ASEAN member states lauded the US’s assistance in building the ASEAN Community and regional connectivity via effective cooperation projects such as the ASEAN Development Vision to Advance National Cooperation and Economic Integration (ADVANCE), the US-ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment (ACTI), the ASEAN-US Partnership for Good Governance, Equitable and Sustainable Development and Security (PROGRESS) as well as actively joining regional forums and mechanisms such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus).

Under the ASEAN-US Connectivity initiative, connectivity centers were put in operation in Jakarta, Singapore and Bangkok in September 2016 in order to help business communities easily access information and resources in priority fields.

The two sides agreed to continue taking measures mentioned in the action plan while enhancing collaboration in response to emerging challenges.

The US side affirmed its support for ASEAN’s central role and vowed to continue projects in support of the bloc in the near future, including bridging the development and connectivity gap within the framework of the Working Plan to implement the third stage of the ASEAN Connectivity Initiative and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025.

They will also consider the possibility of holding celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the ASEAN-US relations and the 50th founding anniversary of ASEAN.

On this occasion, the two sides also discussed preparations for the upcoming high-level meetings, including US Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the ASEAN Secretariat and meeting with the CPR in late April, the ASEAN-US Dialogue in May and the ASEAN-US Ministerial Meeting in August.

Established in 1977, ASEAN-US relations have expanded, covering various fields such as  politics, security, economics, trade, investment, and socio-cultural affairs.

At the third ASEAN-US Summit in 2015, leaders of the two sides agreed to lift bilateral ties to the level of strategic partnership.

Source: VNA