Delegates from ASEAN and the US take photo at the event (Source: http://asean.org) 

Jakarta (VNA)
– The ninth meeting of the ASEAN-US Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) took place in early May in Jakarta, Indonesia, to take stock of their cooperation across a wide range of areas.

The two sides agreed that 2017 marked a big stride forward in the 40-year bilateral ties.

The ASEAN appreciated US President Donald Trump’s attendance at meetings within the framework of the ASEAN Summit in Manila, the Philippines, in November 2017 and hailed the working visit by US Vice President Mike Pence to the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta in April 2017 and the special meeting between ASEAN and US foreign ministers in May 2017.

The US side affirmed that those events reiterated its commitment to and policies on the region as well as its hope to strengthen coordination with the bloc to elevate the bilateral relations to a new height.

Regarding cooperation programmes, the two sides noted the positive progress made in the implementation of the ASEAN-US Plan of Action in 2016-2020 with 91 out of the 130 lines of action (about 88 percent) being carried out in various fields such as dealing with cross-border challenges, increasing navigation cooperation, economic integration, and development cooperation, training young leaders, and promoting gender equality.

ASEAN called on the two sides to beef up collaboration for the common goals of peace, security, stability and prosperity in the region, including in the East Sea.

The bloc proposed the US provide more support to realise the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025.

The association also revealed its priorities in 2018 which are building a resilient and innovative ASEAN Community, establishing the ASEAN Smart Cities Network and promoting cyber security.

In reiterating its commitment to strengthening relations with ASEAN, the US underscored the important role that ASEAN has played in maintaining peace and stability in the region, making ASEAN the corner stone of the US’ open and free Indo-Pacific strategy.

The US pledged to continue supporting the central role of ASEAN and the implementation of ASEAN development programmes and projects in the coming time.

Both sides underlined the importance of security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation and stressed the need to follow principles of rule-based behaviours without use or threat to use forces while restraining and settling peacefully any disputes in line with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

ASEAN and the US established relations in 1977 and elevated their ties to an Enhanced Partnership in 2005 and a Strategic Partnership in 2015. 

The US was the first dialogue partner to send its own ambassador and set up a permanent representative delegation in ASEAN in June 2010.-VNA