ASEAN, US forge comprehensive strategic partnership

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The ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. SPM

ASEAN and the US have agreed to upgrade their partnership to "ASEAN-US Comprehensive Strategic Partnership".

This "meaningful, substantive and mutually beneficial" partnership will be formalised at the 10th ASEAN-US Summit in November 2022 to be held in Cambodia, according to their "joint vision statement" released on May 14 after the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC.

“As we celebrate the 45th anniversary of ASEAN-US Dialogue Relations in 2022, we commit to establish an ASEAN-US Comprehensive Strategic Partnership that is meaningful, substantive, and mutually beneficial at the 10th ASEAN-US Summit in November 2022. We look forward to the early completion of the necessary process,” the statement said.

The summit also agreed on other aspects of cooperation such as combating Covid-19; strengthening economic ties and connectivity; promoting maritime cooperation; enhancing people-to-people connectivity; supporting sub-regional development; leveraging technologies and promoting innovation; addressing climate change, and preserving peace and building trust.

“We commit to support the development of ASEAN’s digital infrastructure, to promote the development of peaceful, secure, open, interoperable, reliable, inclusive, and resilient Information and Communications Technology (ICT) ecosystems and 5G networks, and explore ways to strengthen cooperation on digital economy, smart, sustainable city development and emerging technologies, including through the US-ASEAN Smart Cities Partnership (USASCP),” the statement said.

On preserving peace and building trust, the statement said ASEAN and the US support the bloc’s effort to preserve the Southeast Asian region as a Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone and free of all other weapons of mass destruction, as enshrined in the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ Treaty), among other relevant agreements.

On the Myanmar issue, ASEAN and the US call for the immediate cessation of violence in the country and for the release of all political prisoners, including foreigners. We will redouble our collective efforts towards a peaceful solution in Myanmar that also reflects a continued commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms, as outlined in the ASEAN Charter.

“We welcome close coordination between the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar and the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Myanmar to ensure synergy in this important endeavour,” said the joint statement.

"With regard to Ukraine, as for all nations, we continue to reaffirm our respect for sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity.

“As we proceed with implementation of this ambitious agenda in the coming months and years, we look forward to reaching a new level of cooperation and partnership and task our Ministers to coordinate the implementation of this Joint Vision Statement,” it said.