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US, ASEAN support bridging development gap

Washington, DC [US], September 7 (ANI): The United States and the Association of Southeast Asia nations (ASEAN) support narrowing the development gap in the bloc and assisting the region's economic recovery. In the ASEAN-US Leaders' Statement, both countries said that they will "support narrowing the development gap in ASEAN, including the emerging gap arising from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and assisting the region's economic recovery to realise an inclusive, participatory, and collaborative ASEAN Community that is no longer divided by the development gaps among its members." US Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Jakarta on Tuesday to meet with leaders of the ASEAN, in a summit hosted by Indonesia.

In a joint statement, the US and ASEAN said that they will Promote the stability, peace, prosperity, and sustainable development of the Mekong subregion through shared initiatives under the Mekong-U.S. Partnership (MUSP), which complements the Friends of the Mekong and supports the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 and the IAI Work Plan IV (2021-2025), in support of ASEAN Centrality and unity in promoting ASEAN's sub-regional development; To achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, the US and ASEAN said that they will"advance efforts to accelerate progress and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 by maximizing the complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through cooperation in food security, health security and the building of resilient health systems, gender equality, human rights, clean energy and climate action, smart and sustainable cities, environmental conservation, transparency, and the rule of law as well as other SDG priorities.""Further collaborate to accelerate clean and just energy transition and the fight against climate change; support the promotion of an inclusive community in ASEAN; and strengthen support for the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre)," the statement read.

The US commended Indonesia's efforts as the Chair of ASEAN to elevate and mainstream the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) as a catalyst for cooperation with the United States and other dialogue partners across ASEAN's political-security, economic, and socio-cultural communities;US and ASEAN affirmed the support for the objectives and principles of the AOIP, which provides a guide for ASEAN's engagement in the wider Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean regions or the Indo-Pacific and a conceptual basis for growing cooperation between ASEAN and the United States via our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP);Both of them"Emphasized that it is in the interest of ASEAN, with the support of external partners, including the United States, to remain at the centre of the regional architecture and shape its dynamics to bring about peace, security, stability and prosperity for the peoples in the Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean regions," the statement read.

"Noting that the AOIP and the United States' Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) share relevant fundamental principles, in promoting an open, inclusive, and rules-based regional architecture, in which ASEAN is central, working alongside partners who share these goals," it added.

They also reaffirmed the importance of upholding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the ASEAN Charter, as well as upholding shared values enshrined in the Declaration on Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN), the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo- Pacific (AOIP). (ANI)