• Melo Acuna

COVID-19 forces 33rd ASEAN-US Dialogue to virtual setting

33rd ASEAN-US dialogue held

MANILA – US Asst. Secretary of State for ast Asian and Pacific Affairs David R. Stillwell met with ASEAN senior officials including the Philippines SOM Leader Ambassador Elizabeth P. Buensuceso in a virtual dialogue last Wednesday.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the Meeting focused on the COVID-19 situation in their respective countries and underscored the need to cooperate to address both the health and economic headwinds brought by the pandemic. The same Meeting also underlined the importance of human capital development initiatives under the U.S. – ASEAN Strategic Partnership in fostering regional growth and development this time.

“The participants reaffirmed the importance of having ASEAN-led regional mechanisms as the foundation of an enduring ASEAN-US partnership and highlighted ASEAN centrality in the regional architecture,” the DFA statement said. The participants also exchanged views on regional concerns and highlighted the importance of a peaceful, secure and stable South China Sea.

Asst. Secretary Stilwell said his country continues to place ASEAN centrality at the heart of the US vision for the Indo-Pacific region. He outlined the US’ COVID-19 assistance to ASEAN and ASEAN-US regional programs in the pipeline which include health futures initiatives, regional development cooperation and strengthening people-to-people ties.

The participants looked forward to the next ASEAN-US Ministerial Meetings in Septembr and the ASEAN-US Summit in November to discuss more meaningful engagements under the ASEAN-US strategic partnership. (Melo M. Acuña)

US Asst. Secretary of State for Asian and Pacific Affairs David R. Stillwell (extreme left) and Philippines' SOM Elizabeth P. Buensuceso, and Laotian Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith attend the 33rd ASEAN-US Dialogue. (DFA Photos)

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