United States Vice President Kamala Harris announced that they are establishing the first-ever US-ASEAN Center in Washington, which will facilitate official ASEAN engagements. Harris, who arrived in Indonesia on Tuesday, attended the ASEAN-US Summit and said that they have upgraded the relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, according to the statement released by the US White House. At the ASEAN-US Summit, Harris said, “And today, I am pleased to announce that we will establish, through a public-private partnership, the first-ever US-ASEAN Center in Washington, DC. The centre will facilitate official ASEAN engagements and support further exchange between our people, businesses, and academic institutions.”
“To further strengthen our ties, I’m also pleased that our ambassador to ASEAN, Yohannes Abraham, is here in Jakarta. He has been a close advisor to President Biden and to me since we took office, and I know his leadership will help make progress on the many issues we will discuss today,” she added. At the Summit, she acknowledged and welcomed the presence of Timor-Leste in this meeting. The United States will continue to support Timor-Leste in its path towards ASEAN membership. “I believe, as leaders, we must address the global challenges of today while also investing in a long-term vision. We must look 10, 20, 30 years out and measure our current steps against that vision,” Harris added.
The US Vice President stated that the country has an enduring commitment to Southeast Asia and, more broadly, to the Indo-Pacific. The US is a proud Pacific power, and the American people have a profound stake in the future of the Indo-Pacific. She said that the US-ASEAN economic cooperation represents a huge opportunity for growth for both of our markets. The defence and deterrence commitments of the United States and our security presence in the Indo-Pacific help protect our homeland and ensure regional stability.
It is therefore in the vital interest of the US to promote a region that is open, interconnected, prosperous, secure, and resilient, according to the statement. “And I’m pleased that our collective vision for the Indo-Pacific is in strong alignment. We have a shared commitment to international rules and norms and to our partnership on pressing national and regional issues, such as the crisis in Myanmar. The United States will continue to press the regime to end the horrific violence, to release all those unjustly detained, and to re-establish Myanmar’s path to inclusive democracy, and we will continue to support ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus,” Harris said.
“More broadly, in a demonstration of the enduring and important relationship between the United States and Southeast Asia, since President Biden and I took office, we have expanded US-ASEAN ties,” she added.