On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I am honored to congratulate the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ASEAN Secretariat on the 54th anniversary of the organization’s founding on August 8.
U.S.-ASEAN engagement is now in its fifth decade as it continues to foster a more stable, prosperous, and peaceful region. The strategic partnership between the United States and ASEAN contributes to our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, with ASEAN and ASEAN-led mechanisms as a centerpiece of regional architecture.
This week I had the privilege to participate in the U.S-ASEAN, East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Mekong-U.S. Partnership, and Friends of the Mekong ministerial meetings. I value deeply the opportunity to interact with our friends at the ASEAN Secretariat, with the representatives from the nations that make up ASEAN, with other important regional stakeholders, and with partners and allies around the world interested in shaping a positive, peaceful and productive future for the ASEAN region.
At these meetings, and in this week’s U.S.-Indonesia Strategic Dialogue with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, I reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to ASEAN and underscored the central role ASEAN has in our collective vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific. To that end, we look forward to additional fruitful engagement in the region when Vice President Harris travels to Singapore and Vietnam this month to continue to discuss our cooperation on pressing regional and international challenges as well as on deepening ties between the people of the United States and the people of the nations of Southeast Asia.
I also reaffirmed that the United States would continue to be partners with the countries of ASEAN in the fight against COVID-19. The United States has provided more than 23 million vaccine doses and over $158 million in health and humanitarian assistance to date to ASEAN members to support their response to the pandemic. We will also be there to support the region to build back better from the economic damage wrought by the pandemic by helping drive a green recovery and ensure readiness for future outbreaks. And we continue to be a champion for strong people-to-people ties between the combined one billion population between our countries, demonstrated through our ongoing support for the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) and other cultural, academic, and professional exchanges.
I congratulate ASEAN on its 54th anniversary and look forward to many more years of friendship and collaboration with the organization and the people of Southeast Asia.