JAKARTA – US President Joe Biden expressed intent to offer up to USD102 million in new-fangled initiatives to expand the US-Asean strategic partnership.
Biden made the announcement at a virtual meeting with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member states and the Asean Secretary General for the annual US-Aean Summit held on Tuesday.
The new initiative for expansion of the US-Asean strategic partnership is aimed at supporting the region’s recovery from Covid-19, addressing the climate crisis, promoting economic growth, and developing human capital, according to a written statement issued by the US Embassy in Jakarta on Wednesday.
At the virtual US-Asean Summit, Biden reaffirmed US commitment to strengthening partnership with the Asean as well as to its centrality and applauded the Asean Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.
Biden also underscored the enduring commitment of the United States to the region and pledged to deepen cooperation to take on challenges that encompassed working with allies and partners to defend against threats to the international rules-based order and to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.
"The relationship between the United States and Asean is vital for the future of all one billion of our people. Our partnership is essential in maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific, which has been the foundation of our shared security and prosperity for many decades," he affirmed.
"The United States strongly supports the Asean Outlook and the Indo-Pacific — on the Indo-Pacific and the rules-based regional order," he added.
Biden also underlined the importance of a strategic partnership between the US and Asean, highlighting new efforts to expand high-level US-Asean cooperation in health, climate, energy, transportation, and gender empowerment.
He reiterated the US commitment to ending the Covid-19 pandemic and building back better to prepare for the next, including making available more than 40 million vaccine doses and over USD200 million in emergency health and humanitarian assistance to Asean member states to fight Covid-19.
He also pressed for bold action to strengthen health systems and health security as well as mitigate the climate crisis in addition to reaffirming US support to build back better and drive a green recovery. (Anadolu)