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Special ASEAN-US Summit: New directions for long-term cooperation

Southeast Asia is increasingly important in terms of geostrategy and geo-economics with Washington, while the US is also one of the top 10 important partners of ASEAN. A face-to-face meeting between leaders of the parties is expected to open new directions for long-term cooperation, elevate relations with concrete and substantive initiatives.

For the first time a US President held special summit in Washington D.C. with ASEAN leaders. President Joe Biden called the event an occasion to mark a new era in the relationship between the two sides. The Joint Vision Statement of the 2022 ASEAN-US Special Summit has been released, a statement that embodies a comprehensive, inclusive vision, a strong commitment to promote relations in many aspects such as application respond to and recover from the epidemic, strengthen economic connectivity and relations, promote maritime cooperation, maintain peace and build trust. One content that cannot be ignored is the commitment to establish a substantive, effective, and mutually beneficial ASEAN-US Comprehensive Strategic Partnership at the Summit in November, a special high-level meeting. distinctive with many imprints and meanings.

Asia – Pacific region – long-term interests that the US needs to focus on

The relationship between ASEAN and the US began 45 years ago, but this is the first time that a summit between ASEAN and the US has been held in Washington, DC. In the context of many fluctuations in the world, from COVID-19 to instability in Europe, inflation increased, but the conference was still held, which shows the importance of the US – ASEAN relationship with the US. development of each party.

A series of US – ASEAN cooperation programs have been announced by the US, including a program to support clean energy development, initially worth 40 million USD and will increase to 2 billion USD; program on maritime cooperation, marine economy, development of fisheries, assurance of security and safety at sea worth 60 million USD. In addition, cooperation in cybersecurity, digital economy, support for the development of clean products, COVID-19 prevention and control, transport infrastructure development, sustainable development, and climate change combat is also expected.

The ASEAN-US Special Summit: New orientations for long-term cooperation - Photo 1.

For the first time, a US President held a special summit in Washington with ASEAN leaders

In terms of education, notably Joe Hopkins’s commitment to establish an ASEAN center and receive students from ASEAN; Boeing and UPS will accept qualified employees to work in the US to strengthen management capacity.

Mr. Greg Poling – Senior Expert, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) acknowledged: “President Biden and most senior officials of the US government spent 2 days just talking about ASEAN. Together with the leaders of 10 other ASEAN countries have come here, it shows the priority of both sides towards each other.For the US, it especially shows that these days, there is a lot of information about Russia in Washington D.C. , we need to forget about it, but the Asia-Pacific region is the long-term interest that the US needs to focus on.”

This meeting has determined the foundation for the US – ASEAN relationship in the coming time, on the basis of a very comprehensive ASEAN – US dialogue and cooperation, spanning many fields, from security – politics to politics. economic, commercial and cultural – social. This conference takes place in the context that the world is also going through very complicated and unpredictable changes. Here, maintaining and demonstrating ASEAN’s central role in dialogue and coordination, handling issues in the region, or relating to regional interests is very important, which is also what ASEAN has been able to do. present throughout its development, as well as emphasizing in any partnership, thereby contributing to the maintenance of peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

ASEAN provides stable strategic equilibrium in the region

In 2019, at the 34th Summit, ASEAN announced the Indo-Pacific Vision. The content affirms the desire to maintain regional stability, has an independent view, does not depend on any party in the competition for influence in the region and ensures the future for ASEAN. The adoption of the Vision is considered very important, maintaining ASEAN’s central role in ensuring peace, security and stability in Southeast Asia.

US President Joe Biden emphasized: “The United States strongly supports ASEAN’s Indo-Pacific Vision and a rules-based regional order. We will continue to cooperate more deeply and importantly. that we work together to meet the challenges that are shaping the 21st century.”

Special ASEAN-US Summit: New directions for long-term cooperation - Photo 2.

The US is starting a new era in its relationship with ASEAN

With a unique and important geographical position with international trade, a large and populous market, ASEAN has long become an important partner in maintaining and ensuring prosperity, development, and furthering peace. regional peace and security and the world in general.

Dr. Chheang Vanarith – President of the Asian Vision Institute (AVI), Cambodia said: “ASEAN is an important regional institution in maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in Southeast Asia and the Asian region – With ASEAN at its center, ASEAN provides a stable strategic equilibrium in the region, ASEAN plays a leading role in shaping the regional architecture, which is to invite all great powers to the region. this area to discuss, share prosperity, share opportunities”.

The Southeast Asia region has always been an important part of US geostrategy, regardless of the past “Asia-Pacific Rebalance Strategy” or the current “Indo-Pacific Strategy”. . The US affirmed that it always attaches importance to ASEAN’s central role in the region. Other mechanisms such as the Quad or AUKUS were created not to compete or challenge the role of ASEAN, but only to contribute to the common good in the region.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “AUKUS adds to our network of partnerships to support stability and security in the region. Australia remains committed to a rules-based regional order. rules, the rules that have laid the foundation for the stability and prosperity of the region and on which all ASEAN members depend.

Asia – Pacific is a region for cooperation and development, not a “chessboard” of competition between great powers. ASEAN countries are partners to promote the development and prosperity of the region, not a player in geopolitical competition. It is also the guiding principle of ASEAN’s Indo-Pacific Vision”.

Achievements and challenges in ASEAN – US relations

In the context of ASEAN – US celebrating 45 years of relationship establishment, the face-to-face meeting between leaders of the two sides recognized many expectations, a new directional vision for long-term cooperation, or an opportunity for the two sides. foster relationships, find solutions to common challenges. The ASEAN-US Special Summit just took place in Washington DC, the US, marking an important step forward, affirming the strategic significance of the bilateral relationship after 45 years of cooperation.

The ASEAN-US Special Summit: New orientations for long-term cooperation - Photo 3.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison: AUKUS adds to our network of partnerships to support stability and security in the region.

US President Joe Biden emphasized: “If you look around the world with all the challenges that we face, then the ASEAN-US partnership is very important, responding to this historic moment. We are kicking off a new era in the relationship between ASEAN and the US.”

Over the years, the US has actively participated and contributed to the mechanisms and frameworks chaired by ASEAN, committed to supporting the solidarity, unity and central role of ASEAN. The two sides also stepped up cooperation in responding to non-traditional security challenges such as maritime security, counter-terrorism, transnational crime, and cyber security.

Economic cooperation is also a bright spot. ASEAN’s export turnover to the US has continuously increased in recent years. In contrast, the US is currently ASEAN’s second largest trading partner and largest foreign direct investor. Education and training cooperation, cultural exchange and development cooperation are focused and maintained, especially in COVID-19 response, post-pandemic recovery, and sustainable development.

Ms. Kamala Harris – US Vice President said: “Partnership with ASEAN also directly affects the prosperity and security of the American people. Flexible supply chains in Southeast Asia benefit consumers. America. When the global supply chain is flowing, more goods and of course prices go down.”

However, there are still some points of disagreement on regional and international issues, which still require ASEAN and the US to have additional strengthening of strategic trust. The absence of the US in important regional multilateral mechanisms such as the CPTPP and RCEP is also a barrier for the two sides to tighten their cooperation in economy, trade and beyond.

Dr. Chheang Vanarith – President of the Asia-Cambodia Vision Institute: “It is a challenge that if the US cannot improve its trade relations with Southeast Asia, then its economic influence and political influence will decline proportionally. The US needs to figure out how it can engage Southeast Asia more effectively through trade liberalization and facilitation.”

The results achieved at the recent Special Summit are expected to create important impulses to help promote ASEAN-US cooperation for peace, cooperation and development in the region and the world. .

Expectations of the US-ASEAN Special Summit

Special ASEAN-US Summit: New directions for long-term cooperation - Photo 4.

Analysts also shared many expectations about the special summit in Washington this time. Dr. Andrew Wells-Dang, Senior Specialist of the American Institute of Peace, said: “This summit comes as the world is witnessing major geopolitical changes, along with an economic and food crisis. The US and ASEAN’s agreement to advance to the summit shows that this engagement is continuing even in the midst of a challenging international situation.All ASEAN members and the United States agree that ASEAN is the leading regional institutions linking the Indian Ocean with the South Pacific and East Asia. And this includes multilateral bodies based in ASEAN such as the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum.”

Mr. Greg Poling – Senior Expert, Center for Strategic and International Studies: “Many signs of great interest by both the US and ASEAN on major issues have pulled the two sides together, even though The US and ASEAN still have differences in their views on a number of current global issues such as world order, China, the post-COVID-19 recovery and the overall economic recovery. This area will paint an overall picture of the relationship between the US and ASEAN, along with other US partners, such as the Quartet or the European Union.

According to Professor Gordon Flake – Director of the Perth American-Asian Research Center, University of Western Australia: “ASEAN has always been assessed as a mechanism that plays a central role. ASEAN members make up a large economy and Whether it is the Quad or the broader Indo-Pacific strategy, US policy towards the region or in US policy towards countries like Japan, Australia, India and others, all put ASEAN at the center in different ways, the US not only wants but needs to promote its relationship with ASEAN and I am delighted that the summit has moved in this direction”.

Facing the volatile world situation, the requirements for peace, cooperation and development, and the promotion of multilateralism and international cooperation are more urgent. The region and the world are volatile, requiring ASEAN, of which Vietnam is a member, to further promote its central role. The long-term vision for the comprehensive strategic partnership between ASEAN and the US that the parties have just committed to establish will not be out of this requirement. The US’s stronger support for ASEAN’s central role, helping ASEAN build a stronger community is also an important content for cooperation and coordination to be more effective.

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