27 Oct 2021
On 26 October 2021, H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand, participated in the 9th ASEAN-U.S. Summit via videoconference. President Joe Biden of the United States also joined the Meeting, which reaffirmed the U.S.’ commitment to reinvigorating its ties with ASEAN.
The Meeting discussed COVID-19 recovery and the advancement of the ASEAN-U.S. Strategic Partnership. In this regard, the U.S. underlined its commitment to promoting vaccine distribution in the region with the contribution of more than 40 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and more than 200 million USD worth of assistance to fight against the pandemic. The Meeting also highlighted ASEAN-U.S. cooperation in other areas such as public health, trade and investment, infrastructure development, green economy, digital development, human capital development, climate change, and cybersecurity. The Meeting also exchanged views on international and regional issues, wherein the U.S. reaffirmed its support for ASEAN centrality and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), and reiterated its readiness to work with ASEAN in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The Meeting also adopted the ASEAN-U.S. Leaders’ Statement on Digital Development.
Prime Minister Prayut emphasised that the ASEAN-U.S. dialogue relations have been advanced based on trust and confidence as well as mutual benefit. Therefore, he appreciated the U.S.’ commitment to enhancing constructive engagement in the region. The Prime Minister also proposed three areas of cooperation, namely (1) ensuring equitable and timely distribution of COVID-19 vaccines by stressing Thailand’s readiness to cooperate with the U.S. on research and development of vaccines, as well as in ensuring effective distribution of vaccines in the regional supply chain; (2) re-prioritising efforts on green growth by promoting investment and job creation in environment-friendly industries as well as through cooperation on the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy Model which Thailand aims to promote during its APEC 2022 host year and hopes to work with the U.S. to carry this important agenda forward in 2023 and beyond; and (3) promoting the digital development wherein Thailand continues to take forward the “Digital Park Thailand” Project under the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) to be a crown jewel for the creative economy and digital start-ups in the region. Moreover, the Prime Minister also stressed the importance of cooperation between major powers in fostering a peaceful geo-political environment conducive to post-COVID-19 recovery.