Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has underlined the importance of ASEAN - US relations to peace, security and development in the region at the first ASEAN-US summit in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei on October 9.

He said the institutionalisation of the ASEAN – US summit as an annual event and the organisation of dialogues at all levels have proved the importance of their partnership, forging an impetus to far-reaching and effective cooperation and laying a foundation to lift bilateral relations to strategic partnership.

PM Dung suggested the two sides coordinate closely in order to effectively implement the 2011-2015 Action Plan and study ways to carry out recommendations by the ASEAN – US celebrity expert group.

He said the two sides should give high priority to enhancing economic, trade and investment cooperation. In the immediate future, the two sides need to continue effectively implementing the working plan on the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), increase consultations between ASEAN economic ministers and US trade representatives while holding more ASEAN – US business forums.

The Vietnamese PM proposed that ASEAN and the US consider and soon establish an appropriate consultation channel to realise the master plan on ASE AN connectivity focusing on fields of US’s strength like infrastructure, power distribution network, energy and information technology.

He asked the US to continue provide assistance to the Mekong Sub-region development in the framework of the Lower Mekong Initiative.

The leader appealed for the US’ continued support of ASEAN’s efforts in promoting the serious implementation of the ASEAN Six-Point Principles Statement on the East Sea, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and commitments as specified in the Joint Declaration of the ASE AN –China Summit on the 10th anniversary of the DOC to soon achieve the Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea for peace, security and stability in the region.

At the meeting, ASEAN leaders and US Secretary of State John Kerry emphasised the need to foster cooperation for peace, maritime security and safety and development in the region, particularly in economics, trade, investment, education, climate change and sustainable use of water resources in the Mekong Sub-region.

In the near future, ASEAN and the US will further implement the 2011-2015 Action Plan and the Working Plan on the ASEAN – US TIFA, the 2012-2014 ASEAN – US Energy Cooperation Work Plan and the ASEAN Enhanced Economic Engagement Initiative, they said, adding that the two sides should strive to elevate their ties to a strategic partnership.

ASEAN leaders said they valued the US’s commitments to the region as well as its support of ASEAN’s central role in regional architecture.-VNA