ASEAN, US sign Regional Development Cooperation Agreement hinh anh 1US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the ASEAN-US Ministerial Meeting on September 10. (Photo: VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) -
ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi and US Agency for International Development (USAID) Principal Officer to ASEAN Ryan Washburn have recently signed a Regional Development Cooperation Agreement (RDCA) between ASEAN and the US.

The RDCA will contribute to strengthening ties and continuing links of friendship between ASEAN and the US, advancing sustainable and inclusive growth and development. It will encourage rule-based systems in support of a peaceful, secure and prosperous ASEAN, in line with the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, the ASEAN-US Plan of Action (2021-2025) and the Joint Statement of the ASEAN-US Special Summit.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Lim said the US shall continue to be one of ASEAN’s key dialogue partners in the ASEAN Community building efforts.  ASEAN looks forward to the implementation of projects and programmes to be supported by the RDCA in response to current and emerging challenges.

He thanked the US Government, through the USAID and the US Mission to ASEAN, for its support to the on-going initiatives and the future programmes under the RDCA.

For his part, Washburn said this new five-year agreement between USAID and ASEAN, with a value of up to 50 million USD, underscores the US commitment to regional development, ASEAN’s centrality, and the shared goals of regional integration and rules-based governance to promote peace, security and prosperity in ASEAN.

The RDCA will serve as an umbrella framework for all the on-going and future ASEAN-US cooperation programmes to address regional and global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, human trafficking and forced labour, access to the digital economy, and coordinated responses to natural disasters.

The signing ceremony took place at the ASEAN Secretariat during the side lines of the ASEAN-US Ministerial Meeting on September 10, marking another milestone of the ASEAN-US strategic partnership and development cooperation./.