The Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Thailand advocated strengthening of ASEAN-US strategic partnership in all dimesions, especially in fighting amd recovering from COVID-19 as well as cooperation and '3 actions' on environment and climate change including the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy model.
On 6 May 2021, H.E. Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, attended the 34th ASEAN-US Dialogue via video conference. The Meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Mr. Bounleua Phandanouvong, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lao PDR (as Country Coordinator for the ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue Relations) and H.E. Mr. Atul Keshap, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, US Department of State. The Meeting was attended by Senior Officials/representatives from ASEAN Member States and Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Political Security Community.
The Meeting discussed the strengthening of the ASEAN-US Partnership in all dimensions, especially the efforts to respond and recover better from COVID-19. This includes the US' contribution of more than USD 112 million to ASEAN Member States’ fight against the pandemic and its commitment to enhancing global access to vaccines through COVAX Facility and plan to expand vaccine production with Quad partners. The Meeting also highlighted ASEAN-US cooperation in other areas, such as green recovery and climate change, economic integration, digital economy, infrastructure development, promotion of human rights and gender equality and human capital development.
The Meeting also exchanged views on regional and international issues while reaffirming the importance of multilateralism and constructive engagement of the US in the region. The US emphasised that Biden-Harris administration has demonstrated the central importance placed on ASEAN and reiterated its support for ASEAN centrality and principles under the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-pacific (AOIP). The US also expressed its keen interest in further promoting development cooperation in the Mekong Sub-region.
Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Thailand led a discussion on “Environment and Climate Change”. He suggested that ASEAN and the US advance cooperation through 3 “actions”, namely (1) ambitious actions on climate targets through technological transfers, capacity-building and financial support for the implementation of climate measures; (2) actions that generate climate-friendly economic growth through US' investment in ASEAN’s clean and environmental-friendly industries; and (3) actions that promote balanced relationship between human and nature by proposing the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy Model to be part of the solution, and the ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue (ACSDSD) to be a possible platform for cooperation.
The Meeting was an opportunity for enhancing a closer strategic partnership and promoting concrete cooperation between ASEAN and the US amidst multi-faceted challenges in the region and the new US administration. The Meeting also discussed the preparation for the upcoming Special ASEAN-U.S. Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which is expected be held at the earliest opportunity.