ASEAN and the US have affirmed their commitment to enhancing their bilateral relations on the occasion of the 36th anniversary of their strategic partnership.

In a ceremony on Dec. 6 at the ASE AN Secretariat’s headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia, the group’s Deputy Secretary General for Political-Security Community Nyan Lynn said that the success of the first ASEAN-US Summit held in Brunei in October reflects the equal and sustainable partnership between the two sides.

He stated that the ASEAN Secretariat welcomes continued cooperation in potential fields that can help build the ASEAN Community by 2015 and beyond.

On this occasion, the two sides launched two five-year programmes funded by the US Agency for International Development with the aim to intensify poverty reduction and inclusive economic development in ASEAN member nations.

The first programme focuses on ASEAN connectivity through trade and investment, with the aim to support the development of the ASEAN Economic Community in the areas of customs integration, trade and investment facilitation, clean and efficient energy, and information and communication technologies.

Meanwhile, the second, called “ASEAN-US Partnership for Good Governance, Equitable and Sustainable Development and Security”, will help intra-ASEAN and ASEAN-US cooperation in good governance, public-private sector dialogue and the promotion of human rights. It also aims to help the group combat trans-national crimes and non-traditional security threats, and support its work in disaster control.

The US began engaging with ASEAN as a dialogue partner in 1977.-VNA