US Secretary Blinken Meets ASEAN Foreign Ministers and Secretary-General
The US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met the foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ASEAN Secretary-General during the Special ASEAN-U.S. Foreign Ministerial Meeting and spoke to them. The Secretary reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to ASEAN centrality and underscored ASEAN’s essential role in the Indo-Pacific’s regional architecture. The Secretary and the ASEAN foreign ministers pledged to continue building the ASEAN-U.S. strategic partnership based on human rights and fundamental freedoms, economic prosperity, and strong people-to-people ties.
Secretary Blinken stressed the U.S. commitment to working with ASEAN and international partners to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. He also emphasized the importance of taking bold action to address the climate crisis. The Secretary underscored the United States’ rejection of the PRC’s unlawful maritime claims in the South China Sea and reiterated that the United States stands with Southeast Asian claimants in the face of PRC coercion. He pledged continued U.S. support for a free and open Mekong region under the Mekong-U.S. Partnership.
Expressing deep concerns about the military coup in Burma, Secretary Blinken recalled the principles of the ASEAN Charter related to the rule of law, good governance, democracy, and human rights. He called on ASEAN to take joint action to urge the end of violence, the restoration of Burma’s democratic transition, and the release of all those unjustly detained. The Secretary said that ASEAN’s five-point consensus is an important step forward and urged ASEAN to take immediate action to hold the Burmese regime accountable to the consensus and to appoint a special envoy. Pic courtesy Kyodo News.