ASEAN and the United States to Elevate their Ties to Strategic Partnership

U.S. President Joe Biden (C) takes part in the family photo for the U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit on the South Lawn of the White House on May 12, 2022 in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP

During a special summit in Washington, D.C., they discuss issues ranging from the situation in Myanmar to global warming

PHNOM PENH—The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United States on May 13 agreed to raise their bilateral relations to the level of comprehensive strategic partnership under Cambodia's chairmanship.

The pledge was made following a meeting at the Special Summit in Washington DC, which was held as ASEAN and the United States commemorate this year the 45th anniversary of the US-ASEAN dialogue relations.

“As we celebrate the 45th anniversary of ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue Relations in 2022, we commit to establish an ASEAN-U.S. Comprehensive Strategic Partnership that is meaningful, substantive, and mutually beneficial at the 10th ASEAN-U.S. Summit in November 2022: We look forward to the early completion of the necessary process,” read the joint statement issued after the event.

During the summit, the US and ASEAN leaders discussed issues ranging from efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, promoting cooperation by building people-to-people connectivity, and improving the economic linkage between the two regions, according to the statement. In addition, they stressed their commitment to building trust in order to maintain peace and deal with global and regional security issues such as the war in Ukraine, the situation in Myanmar as well as North Korea’s nuclear buildup.

Moreover, US President Joe Biden pledged $150 million for new initiatives to support ASEAN and mentioned that he intended to name a new US ambassador to the region, that is, the first one in five years.  

US-ASEAN partnership to address climate change

Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is the current ASEAN Chair and co-chaired the special summit, attended on May 13 a working lunch with the US Vice President Kamala Harris during which they discussed environmental issues ranging from climate change and clean energy development to sustainable infrastructure.

Environmental issues were also discussed during the summit with ASEAN and US leaders saying they were committed to working together to address climate change and take strong measures to reduce carbon emissions and support clean energy development.   

Regarding climate change, ASEAN-US leaders highlighted the importance of strengthening their partnership to help build Southeast Asian countries’ capacity to deal with the current situation and prepare for the effect of climate change today and in the near future. Already, many ASEAN countries have experienced rising sea levels and are often affected by extreme weather events such as floods and droughts. Which, among other consequences, increase the risks of water, energy and food insecurity.

Leaders at the meeting committed to working together to help each other’s national efforts with climate measures and collaborating on ensuring clean energy transition, including through financing and technology. “We recognized the importance of taking strong action to reduce methane emissions globally, including through efforts underway such as the Global Methane Pledge,” the joint statement read.

Measures to be taken will also include the promotion of public-private collaboration to address transition financing needs including through blended finance, and the deployment of advanced and emerging low-carbon energy technologies while supporting increased access to energy services and energy security as well as ongoing efforts, the statement added.

The meeting ended with Prime Minister Hun Sen inviting US President Joe Biden to attend the 10th ASEAN-US Summit to be held in Cambodia in November 2022.  



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