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Hun Sen calls for more US support

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The 9th ASEAN-US Summit held on October 26 via video conference and in conjunction with the combined 38th and 39th ASEAN summits. SPM

Hun Sen calls for more US support

Prime Minister Hun Sen has called for continued support from the US for ASEAN in the fight against Covid-19 in order to help the bloc “build back better” during the post-pandemic socio-economic recovery period.

The US said it was committed to ending the Covid-19 pandemic globally and that it had provided substantial aid to ASEAN member states – including over 40 million vaccine doses and more than $200 million in emergency health and humanitarian assistance.

Hun Sen made the call at the 9th ASEAN-US Summit held on October 26 via video conference and in conjunction with the combined 38th and 39th ASEAN summits.

He said the Covid-19 crisis had reinforced the need for unity, cooperation and mutual assistance among nations and peoples regardless of race, religion or politics and he praised the US initiative at the recent Global Covid-19 Summit to establish the minimum goal of vaccinations for 70 per cent of the world’s population.

“On behalf of the people of Cambodia and Royal Government, I would like to express my deep gratitude to the US for their donations of vaccines, medical equipment and grant aid to Cambodia, and I would like to request that the US continue to provide all necessary support to ASEAN in the fight against Covid-19,” he said.

Hun Sen said the ASEAN-US partnership plays an important role in promoting economic, trade and investment ties between ASEAN and the US.

He said because ASEAN needs to restore itself to positive economic growth – as does much of the rest of the world today – Cambodia fully supports the ASEAN-US Joint Declaration on Digital Development and the Promotion of Better Implementation of the ASEAN-US Strategic Partnership Action Plan 2021-2025.

The prime minister encouraged the US-ASEAN Business Council and said he hoped they would work closely with ASEAN member states to increase trade activity and the flow of investments into the ASEAN region, especially through the implementation of the trade facilitation agreements.

“Cambodia also requests that the US continue to support ASEAN efforts to ‘build back better’ and promote socio-economic development, especially through the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework,” he said.

Hun Sen called for further strengthening and expanding the ASEAN-US partnership across all sectors, but especially health, digital technology, energy, transportation and environmental and climate change solutions, while strengthening and promoting the role of women in ASEAN.

He said that as long as their joint efforts were undertaken on a basis that respected national sovereignty, ASEAN and the US could do much towards helping each other by building a bright and prosperous common future.

According to a White House press release, President Joe Biden reaffirmed the US’ commitment to strengthening its partnership with ASEAN and its combined population of over 600 million people as well as US support for the principle of ASEAN centrality, while also applauding ASEAN’s “Outlook on the Indo-Pacific” policy statement.

Biden underscored the enduring commitment of the US to the region and pledged to deepen the cooperation between ASEAN and the US in order to take on the challenges facing the world today.

He said the US would continue working with ASEAN and its other allies and partners to defend against threats to the international rules-based order and to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Biden also announced $102 million in new initiatives to expand the US-ASEAN Strategic Partnership and support the region’s recovery from Covid-19, address the climate crisis, promote economic growth and develop human capital.

“He reiterated the US commitment to ending the Covid-19 pandemic and ‘building back better’ to prepare for the next crisis,” according to the press release.

Biden urged bold action to strengthen health systems and health security, mitigate the climate crisis and he reaffirmed US support to build back better and drive a green recovery.

“He also expressed grave concerns about the military coup and the horrific violence in [Myanmar] and called on the country’s military regime to immediately end the violence, release those unjustly detained and restore [its] path to democracy,” statement said.

Biden expressed his support for ASEAN’s “Five-Point Consensus” and for taking further actions to implement it and hold Myanmar junta accountable should they ignore it.

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