The United States has long been a friend of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries. Speaking by video at the annual U.S.-ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that our visions for the future of the Indo-Pacific is closely aligned. “The United States is committed to ASEAN centrality in the Indo-Pacific, and to supporting the prosperity of our ASEAN partners," he said.
“We are providing 89 million dollars in assistance to fight COVID-19 in ASEAN countries of the 20 plus billion dollars that we have provided worldwide. We've delivered 850 ventilators to Indonesia, with another 150 expected to be delivered in the course of the next couple weeks, and 100 ventilators in the Philippines as promised as well.”
Secretary of State Pompeo announced a number of new initiatives designed to help ASEAN countries strengthen their sovereignty and growth:
“First, we're pleased to adopt the ASEAN-U.S. plan of Action for 2021 to 2025 to guide our future engagement together, in line with ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. We're launching, too, the Mekong-U.S. Partnership to expand our engagement with the five countries of the Mekong region, a region of tremendous importance to ASEAN’s prosperity and unity. We're proud too, to advance the US-ASEAN and Leaders’ Statement on Human Capital Development and back it up with new initiatives. The US government intends to provide $5 million for the new [Young Southeast Asian Leaders’ Academy] and Fulbright University Vietnam.”
That’s in addition to over 13 million dollars provided for programs under the US-ASEAN Smart Cities Partnership to build productivity and improve people's lives.
Finally, the United States has devoted new resources to help ASEAN countries face the current pandemic, as well as future ones:
“The ASEAN Public Health Emergency Coordination System, with one and a half million dollars in funding from the State Department, will increase ASEAN's ability to respond as a region to emerging public health crises and, frankly, to help prevent the next pandemic, too. We've created a new Health Futures Alumni Network to share best practices in fighting and dealing with COVID. …And our Department of Health and Human Services also wants to formalize its relationship with the ASEAN health sector.”
“I'm proud of America's work to support our friends in the [ASEAN] region,” said Secretary Pompeo. “You can count on it continuing.”