Some US senators on January 15 congratulated Vietnam
on assuming the Chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN), an important multilateral organisation for advancing a free and
Delegates to the ASEAN Defence Senior Officials' Meeting
Plus Working Group pose for a group photo.
The senators comprise Jim Risch and Cory Gardner
from the Republican Party, Bob Menendez from the Democratic Party, who is
also Chairman and a ranking member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations
Committee, and Ed Markey, also from the Democratic Party, Chairman and a
ranking member of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and
International Cybersecurity Policy.
In a press statement issued on the day, they also
thanked Thailand for its effective stewardship in 2019.
“We look forward to a fruitful year of collaboration
that leads to concrete progress on the most critical issues for ASEAN
members and the entire Indo-Pacific region. The time is ripe to realise the
ASEAN Economic Community, build capacity in the industries of the future,
and posture ASEAN as a driver of regional economic growth. ASEAN members,
including Vietnam, have demonstrated a willingness to stand up for freedom
of navigation and international law in the East Sea,” they said.
They expressed hope that Vietnam will exercise this
type of leadership and cooperating with its ASEAN partners on these issues
in the coming year, especially as ASEAN and China negotiate a Code of
Conduct in the East Sea (COC).
ASEAN is an important partner to the US, the
senators said, stressing their commitments to deepening this relationship,
starting with the US-ASEAN Special Summit.
The senators said they look forward to supporting
the many promising US-ASEAN initiatives underway, including those authorised
by the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act. VNA