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US officials speak on ASEAN - US Special Summit

US officials speak on ASEAN - US Special Summit.


A US official has described the recent ASEAN - US Special Summit as a “tremendous success” while addressing a press briefing held by the Asia Pacific Media Hub of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Public Affairs on May 17.

Daniel J. Kritenbrink, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, was cited by of the US Department of State, as saying that this was the largest in-person summit of the Biden - Harris administration to date, and it displayed the full breadth and depth of the US’s foundational relationship with ASEAN.

He said the core diver of the ASEAN - US partnership is their combined 1 billion people, including over 7 million Americans with ties of family and heritage to the countries of Southeast Asia.

The Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau and US universities are doing throughout Southeast Asia to strengthen people-to-people ties through research and training, he noted, mentioning the Development Finance Corporation and Fulbright University Vietnam’s signing of a financing agreement worth 37 million USD for the Fulbright University Vietnam’s new campus in Ho Chi Minh City.

Regarding the US - Vietnam relations, Kritenbrink also highlighted multiple events held by the US - ASEAN Business Council and the US Chamber of Commerce with ASEAN leaders.

He noted the event organised for Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, saying the Vietnamese leader really eloquently laid out his vision for what Vietnam is trying to achieve and what the US and Vietnam are trying to achieve together, including by continuing to address legacies from the past in a very productive way while continuing to build a future-oriented partnership.

“Just as we are with ASEAN itself, we’re very hopeful for the future of our partnership with Vietnam,” according to Kritenbrink.

The Assistant Secretary added maritime security was a major theme throughout the summit, with a focus on the East Sea (internationally known as the South China Sea). Participants were focused on ensuring that the key to maintaining peace, security, and stability in the region is ensuring that all disputes and all behaviours are both resolved in and rooted in international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

The US reiterated its support for freedom of navigation and overflight and stated its support for the full implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties. It also showed support for an environment conducive to a code of conduct on the East Sea while emphasising that any code of conduct has to be consistent with international law, he went on. 

For his part, Edgard D. Kagan, Special Assistant to the US President and Senior Director for East Asia and Oceania on the National Security Council, said the US and ASEAN have a very similar perspective in many ways on the East Sea, and they were able to get a joint statement that was so clear on basic principles and values. 

Regarding the Joint Vision Statement, he noted this is a significant statement that reflects areas that the US and ASEAN have strengthened their cooperation, adding that they have further aligned their visions, and that it reflects they are going forward and strengthening those ties in the future./.