US-ASEAN partnership has never been stronger: US National Security Advisor hinh anh 1US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien (centre) and ASEAN leaders at the online 8th ASEAN-US Summit on November 14 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The strategic partnership between the US and ASEAN representing the aspirations of nearly a billion of people has never been stronger and is a partnership of “free, equal and independent nations” which respect one another’s sovereignty.

That was the message from US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien who was speaking at the 8th ASEAN-US Summit on November 14.

O’Brien commended Vietnam’s 2020 chairmanship and leadership in advancing ASEAN’s centrality and the US-ASEAN strategic partnership.

This is a special year for US-ASEAN as the two sides marked five years of the strategic partnership, he said.

At this time of global crisis, the US-ASEAN strategic partnership has become more important as we work together to combat coronavirus, he added.

O’Brien said the US appreciated ASEAN’s efforts to keep key supply chains open and factories operating.

He affirmed the US’s commitment to assisting ASEAN to combat the COVID-19 pandemic through financial aid and equipment worth 87 million USD.

The US and ASEAN have partnered to build an area of public health and the fight against infectious diseases over the past two decades.

He told the summit the two sides have witnessed robust cooperation against the pandemic and collaborated in science, health, education, livelihoods and security.

The US side reaffirmed the significance of adhering to international law, unimpeded commerce, its support for littoral countries to exercise sovereign rights with maritime resources in line with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

In his opening remarks at the ASEAN-US Summit, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said ASEAN and the US have maintained the partnership on the principle of mutual respect and understanding for the common goal of enhancing stability, development and cooperation for mutual interest over the four decades.

The global outbreak of the COVID-19, coupled with both traditional and non-traditional security challenges in the past year has made the need for cooperation and coordination between nations more urgent, he said.

"We appreciate the United States as one of the partners who actively promote many practical cooperation initiatives to assist ASEAN countries and the Southeast Asia region to improve their disease response capacity," the Prime Minister said.

"In the spirit of 'cohesive and responsive', ASEAN want to strengthen effective cooperation and close coordination with the international community and partners, including the United States to respond promptly and effectively to emerging challenges, including controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, minimising its negative impact as well as maintaining a stable environment for countries to focus on economic recovery and promoting sustainable development," he said.

At the meeting, ASEAN leaders affirmed that they would facilitate the operations of more than 4,200 US investors and businesses, including 350 leading ones in the region.

They also encouraged US businesses to prioritise a number of areas such as infrastructure development, clean energy, high technology and digital economy.

The ASEAN leaders welcomed the US for its active contribution to maintaining peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea.

They hoped the US would support efforts to uphold international law and serious implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and the development of an effective and appropriate Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in accordance with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea./.