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US wants ASEAN’s centrality in maintaining free, open Indo-Pacific

US Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman on December 6 met with representatives from the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to discuss the US-ASEAN strategic partnership, according to a statement by the US Department of State.

Sherman shared the US Government’s intent to provide more than 100 million USD in new funding for US-ASEAN Futures initiatives which reflects the US’s deep commitment to ASEAN’s central role in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific, the statement said.

She also highlighted US focus on providing the region with a positive economic agenda and its partnership to address regional challenges, including freedom of navigation in the South China Sea (called the East Sea in Vietnam) and East China Sea.

During the meeting, both sides also discussed COVID-19 fight and solutions for political crisis in Myanmar./.