Secretary Pompeo participates in the Virtual East Asia Summit Ministerial, from the US Department of State, in Washington, DC, on September 9, 2020. [Image Source: State Department photo by Freddie Everett / Public Domain]

US-ASEAN Ministerial Meetings go Virtual

ASEAN Indonesia The Mekong

The numerous meetings and summits held by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its partners have moved online this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, including this week’s ministerial meetings.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended the ASEAN-United States Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the ASEAN Regional Forum Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and the inaugural Mekong-U.S. Partnership Ministerial Meeting to launch the Mekong-U.S. Partnership.

Secretary Pompeo noted in a press statement, “The ASEAN Outlook for the Indo-Pacific and the US Indo-Pacific Strategy share a respect for sovereignty, the rule of law, transparency, openness, and inclusivity. These shared principles form the core of our work with ASEAN and are the basis for this week’s launch of the Mekong-US Partnership. We reiterate US support for ASEAN as it speaks with a strong, collective voice to advance these shared values.”

The East-West Center was proud to partner with the US State Department to highlight US-led initiatives and investment into the region. Learn more about the US relationship with each ASEAN country here.

Many regularly scheduled gatherings of ASEAN leaders have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 36th Summit of ASEAN heads of state was moved from an in-person meeting in early April to a virtual meeting in June. The United States has participated in several virtual meetings with ASEAN counterparts since the cancellation of the Las Vegas summit in March, including a meeting between ASEAN health ministers and the US Secretary for Health and Human Services, Alex Azar. This year, the United States has provided $87 million in emergency health and humanitarian assistance to combat COVID-19 in ASEAN Member States.

For more information on the US-ASEAN partnership check out our resources:

Data on the US-ASEAN relationship
The Mekong Matters for America publication

The Trump Administration & US - Indo-Pacific Relations
US-ASEAN Partnership Fact Sheets

Caitlin Brophy is a Programs Coordinator at the East-West Center in Washington.