Thailand joined the 33rd ASEAN-US Dialogue and proposed that two sides enhance engagement with the private sector in vaccine and anti-viral medicine for COVID-19, enhance a public health experts’ network, promote digital connectivity and energy connectivity, and upskill the workforce, especially MSMEs and women. The meeting also agreed to prioritise the effective control of new infection waves, reopening economies and safeguarding employment.
On 5 August 2020, H.E. Mr. Soonthorn Chaiyindeepum, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, attended the 33rd ASEAN-US Dialogue via videoconference. The Meeting was co-chaired by SOM Leaders of the Lao PDR (as Country Coordinator for the ASEAN-US Dialogue Relations) and the US SOM Leaders of ASEAN Member States and the Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN also attended this meeting.
The Meeting reaffirmed the ASEAN-US Strategic Partnership in addressing the challenges from the geopolitical shifts, threats in all forms, and the COVID-19 pandemic through enhanced cooperation in all dimensions, based on the principles outlined in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and the US’ Vision on a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. In addition, the Meeting exchanged views on regional and global issues and stressed the importance of maintaining peace, stability and promoting sustainable development.
The Meeting shared views that top priority remains the effective control of new infection waves, reopening economies and safeguarding employment. ASEAN Member States welcomed US support for public health emergencies totaling 87 million USD, including its ASEAN-US Health Futures initiative, and looked forward to the elevation of the Regional Office of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Meeting also emphasised US’ role in the region’s post-pandemic recovery, including in the area of connectivity, digital economy, infrastructure development through the US International Development Finance Corporation (USDFC), and human capital development.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary appreciated the US support for ASEAN centrality and the ASEAN-led mechanisms, leading to balanced engagement in the region. Thailand’s concrete proposals included enhanced engagement with the private sector in vaccine and anti-viral medicine for COVID-19, enhancing a network among public health experts, promoting digital connectivity in the region through the US’ private-led investment, promoting energy connectivity in the sub-regions, and upskilling workforce in preparation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), especially among MSMEs and women.
The Meeting was an opportunity for ASEAN and the US to enhance concrete cooperation, creating an environment conducive to recovery and sustained growth in the region. It was also the platform in preparation for the upcoming Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC) with the US and the ASEAN-US Summit in September and November 2020 respectively.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand