Vietnam's Prime Minister hopes for breakthroughs in ASEAN-US relations
Hanoi, May 14 (VNA) – Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has expressed his optimism for breakthroughs to be created in the ASEAN-US strategic partnership. Speaking at a banquet for ASEAN leaders hosted by US President Joe Biden in Washington D.C on May 12 night (local time), PM Chinh pledged that Vietnam will make more active contributions to advancing the relationship, for peace, stability, cooperation and sustainable development of ASEAN countries and the US, as well as the region and the world. He described the significance of the ASEAN-US Special Summit as demonstrating the two sides’ commitments to working together towards common peace, stability and prosperity. Over the past 45 years, ASEAN and the US have actively coordinated on the basis of respect for law and ASEAN’s centrality, thus building a foundation for trust, and building an open, transparent, inclusive regional structure in line with international law. Chinh held that the thriving economic, trade and investment ties have brought peoples of the two sides closer, and that it is time for ASEAN and the US to work on new, better development milestones. Regarding orientations for the relations, the PM suggested that maintaining peace and stability should be top of mind of ASEAN and the US, expressing his hope that the US will always support ASEAN’s centrality in processes in Asia-Indo-Pacific. He also called for the US’s contributions to building new orientations for the ASEAN-led cooperation frameworks, and creating a balanced and harmonious environment in the region. The leader called on the US to engage in sincere dialogues with ASEAN on the basis of trust and responsibility, and back the settlement of differences and disputes by peaceful measures, in accordance with international law, the UN Charter and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC). Emphasising the need to restore trade and investment flows to create momentum for the time to come, he pledged that Vietnam will take the best measures to help US investors and firms quickly expand their operation in the country, and connect with the promising ASEAN market. With its experience and resources, the US should support ASEAN in green, sustainable development, economic restructuring, technological application, digital transformation, renewable energy, and comprehensive, sustainable recovery efforts, he suggested, adding that ASEAN hopes that the US will promote cooperation initiatives within the framework of the Mekong-US Partnership, contributing to ensuring development quality, equality and sustainability. Given impacts and consequences of non-traditional challenges, the PM laid an emphasis on the need to build a global approach in addressing global issues. He urged the US to further cooperate with and assist ASEAN in consolidating and improving its healthcare capacity, share experience and transfer technologies in vaccine production, and help the bloc respond to other challenges like environmental degradation and climate change. Leaders of both ASEAN and the US showed their support for the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership, and expressed their hope that the relationship will develop more substantively and effectively for mutual benefits. President Biden announced a package of initiatives worth more than 150 million USD for ASEAN, which is expected to help the 10-member group lure billions of US dollars from the private sector in trade-investment, supply chain stabilisation, health care, maritime cooperation, infrastructure development, energy, climate change response and sustainable development. The US attaches importance to and wishes to elevate its relations with ASEAN, he said, pledging support for ASEAN’s centrality and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). The President considered the ASEAN-US Special Summit a great chance for the sides to evaluate and outline orientations for their relations, especially in the context of its 45th anniversary. The leaders shared the view that the ASEAN-US relationship has developed dynamically and strongly over the past 45 years, and reaped significant outcomes across spheres, from politics and security, to economy-trade, culture-society and development cooperation. Both sides affirmed the importance they place to each other’s role, as well as the significance of the partnership to peace, security, cooperation and prosperous development in the region and the world as well. The ASEAN leaders expressed their hope that the US will continue its cooperation with the bloc, promote dialogue and join efforts to effectively handle challenges in the region. Apart from economy and trade, the two sides should expand collaboration in new spheres like green economy, circular economy, digital transformation, sustainable energy transition and response to non-traditional security challenges such as epidemics and climate change, they said./.