Vietnam attends 26th ASEAN-US Dialogue


Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh led a Vietnamese delegation to the 26th ASEAN-US Dialogue in Washington on May 2-3, which aimed at discussing orientations and measures to strengthen the two sides’ cooperation. 
At the annual meeting at deputy foreign ministerial lelvel, ASEAN member countries and the US praised the positive and important progresses in the two sides’ relations. They said many cooperative activities are being conducted effectively in the fields of politics-security, economics, trade, investment, culture, education, and science and technology through the 2011-2015 ASEAN-US Plan of Action, the 2012 ASE AN- US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) and several other programmes. 
The US is now the third largest investor in ASE AN and the fourth biggest trading partner of the bloc, with two-way trade turnover of more than 198 billion USD. 
The two sides emphasised the strategic significance of their partnership and cooperation for peace, security and prosperity in the region, and pledged to expand effective cooperation to upgrade their relationship to a strategic partnership. 
In the coming time, they will focus on boosting comprehensive cooperation, with priority given to establishing an ASEAN community by 2015, boosting connectivity, human resource development, education, and people-to-people exchanges. At the same time, they will work together to deal with such common challenges as energy security, sustainable water resource management, biodiversity, climate change, natural disasters, epidemics and trans-national crime. 
The two sides will continue enhancing bilateral cooperation under the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) between the US and regional countries. 
US representatives affirmed that President Barack Obama’s administration will continue strengthening links with Asia-Pacific in general and ASEAN in particular, considering the regional bloc a major pillar in the US ’ policy on the region and supporting ASEAN’s central role in the regional structure. 
The US also affirmed its support to ASE AN in establishing the ASEAN Community by 2015, promoting integration, narrowing development gaps among member countries, implementing the ASEAN Master Plan on Connectivity. It committed to continue promoting cooperation under the LMI through new programmes such as ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment ( ACTI ), to which the US will provide 16 million USD in aid over five years, and the 13-million-USD ASE AN-US Partnership for Good Governance, Equitable and Sustainable Development and Security programme (PROGRESS). 
During the meeting, the two sides also underlined the need to maintain peace and stability in the region, ensure maritime security and safety in the East Sea , and solve all disputes in a peaceful manner based on respect for international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 
They suggested the bloc and China early conduct negotiations on the establishment of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in order to consolidate trust and ensure regional peace, security and stability. 
Speaking at the event, Deputy FM Vinh appreciated the US ’ continued cooperation with ASEAN, its assistance to the building of an ASEAN Community. 
He stressed that the US and ASEAN need to closely coordinate in boosting the partnership and effective cooperation in the priority areas of economics, trade, investment, connectivity, science and technology and education.-VNA