WASHINGTON, D.C., 28 March 2019 – ASEAN and the United States reaffirmed their enduring ties and explored ways to deepen the strategic partnership at the 32nd ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue held on 28 March in Washington, D.C.
Senior officials attending the dialogue took stock of the growing cooperation over the past four decades, and agreed to explore new opportunities to further strengthen and deepen collaboration. ASEAN-U.S. cooperation has grown to cover a wide spectrum of areas through several new initiatives as guided by the ASEAN-U.S. Plan of Action (2016-2020).
The meeting underscored the importance of cooperation in such areas as terrorism, trafficking in persons and other transnational crime, maritime security, cybersecurity, good governance and transparency, digital connectivity, ICT, smart cities, trade and investment, energy, infrastructure, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, education, women and youth. The contribution of the Lower Mekong Initiative, which is at its 10th year in addressing sub-regional development, was also acknowledged by both sides.
ASEAN and the U.S. engaged in a discussion on regional and international developments including Indo-Pacific cooperation, the Korean Peninsula and maritime security issues. ASEAN welcomed the U.S.’ continued commitment to the region and support for ASEAN Centrality in the regional architecture under the free and open Indo-Pacific strategy focusing on infrastructure, energy and digital technology. The meeting noted the importance of working towards shared values including a rules-based international order, good governance, respect for sovereignty and mutual trust, among others.
Both sides looked forward to the implementation of new initiatives such as the U.S. – ASEAN Smart Cities Partnership, the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership, the Infrastructure Transaction and Assistance Network in supporting sustainable infrastructure and private-sector-led investment, and the Asia EDGE – Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy to strengthen energy security.
The dialogue was co-chaired by Patrick Murphy, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the United States, and Thongphane Savanphet, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao PDR. It continues to be an important mechanism to discuss strategic issues of common concerns between the two sides.
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