Prime Minister Arrives in Washington DC for ASEAN-US Special Summit
|Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh arrived in Washington D.C. on May 11. Photo: VGP
Welcoming the leader and his entourage at Andrews Air Force Base were US Ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper, Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Nguyen Quoc Dung and officials from the Vietnamese Embassy in the US.
During his stay, Chinh is scheduled to attend the special summit between the ASEAN and US to mark 45 years of their relationship on May 12-13, VOV said.
He will then have bilateral meetings with the leaders of the US and a number of ASEAN countries, as well as UN organisations.
|Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at Andrews Air Force Base. Photo: VGP
The PM will also have meetings with the leaders of a number of US departments, agencies, international organizations, economic groups, experts and scholars in the US.
It’s noteworthy that the Vietnamese PM will give speeches at the US Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Harvard University. He will make fact-finding tours of digital and technology giants Intel, Apple, and Google.
The Vietnamese Government leader will also attend trade, tourism and investment promotion activities in the US.
This is the first foreign activity of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) outside the bloc's territories since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and also the first visit to the US by PM Chinh after the 13th National Party Congress.
Comprehensive ASEAN-US cooperation
ASEAN and the US officially established dialogue relations in 1977 and upgraded the relationship to a partnership at their third summit in 2015. The US established a diplomatic mission in ASEAN in June 2010, and sent a resident ambassador in the grouping in April 2011, according to VietnamPlus.
With such mechanisms as the annual summit, the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC), the ASEAN-US Dialogue at the deputy foreign ministerial and the Senior Officials’ Meeting ‘(SOM) levels, and the ASEAN-US Joint Cooperation Committee, among others, the two sides have cooperated comprehensively across spheres, from politics-security, to economy, culture and social affairs, as well as development cooperation on the basis of their plan of action for 2021-2025.
The US has participated fully in and contributed actively to cooperation mechanisms and frameworks led by ASEAN like the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM ).
|The US has participated fully in and contributed actively to cooperation mechanisms and frameworks led by ASEAN. Photo: asean.org
The US has also committed to supporting ASEAN’s solidarity, unity and centrality and joined the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) in July 2009.
The two sides have stepped up collaboration in responding to non-traditional challenges, covering maritime security, the fight against terrorists and transnational crimes, and cyber security.
In the economic sphere, the US is now the bloc’s second biggest trade partner and largest FDI supplier, with two-way trade reaching USD308.3 billion and investment worth $34.7 billion in 2020.
The economic and trade ties have been implemented through the Trade and Investment Framework and the US-ASEAN Expanded Economic (E3) Initiative Work Plan.
The two sides have also vowed to promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges, along with collaboration in education, human resources development, human rights and religion, anti-corruption, the protection of migrants and women’s empowerment.
Regarding development cooperation, the US has launched two programmes, one on inclusive growth in ASEAN through the Innovation, Trade and E-Commerce (IGNITE), and another on the partnership for Regional Optimization with the Political-Security and Socio-Cultural Communities (PROSPECT).
ASEAN and the US have coordinated in the Covid-19 combat since the pandemic broke out, and supported each other in dealing with its socio-economic impacts, and comprehensive, sustainable recovery.
The US has announced a contribution of $500,000 USD to the Covid-19 ASEAN Response Fund and pledged to assist the bloc in implementing the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework.
As of late 2021, the US said it had provided more than 42 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines and over $200 million for ASEAN countries in the pandemic fight.
The US has also opened its Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Southeast Asia Regional Office in Vietnam’s capital city in August 2021.
US’s enduring commitment
According to the White House, the Special Summit will demonstrate the US’ enduring commitment to ASEAN, recognizing its central role in delivering sustainable solutions to the region’s most pressing challenges, and commemorate 45 years of ASEAN-US relations.
It will build on President Biden’s participation in the October 2021 ASEAN-US Summit, where the President announced $102 million in new initiatives to expand the US’s engagement with ASEAN on Covid-19 recovery and health security, fighting the climate crisis, stimulating broad-based economic growth, promoting gender equality, and deepening people-to-people ties.
It is a top priority for the Biden-Harris Administration to serve as a strong, reliable partner in Southeast Asia.
“Our shared aspirations for the region will continue to underpin our common commitment to advance an Indo-Pacific that is free and open, secure, connected, and resilient,” the White House said./.
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