Chairman’s Statement of the 7th ASEAN-United States Summit

Bangkok/Nonthaburi, 4 November 2019

  1. The 7th ASEAN-United States (U.S.) Summit was held in Bangkok, Kingdom of Thailand on 4 November 2019. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha (Ret.), Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, and attended by Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member States and their representatives as well as Ambassador Robert C. O’Brien, Special Envoy of the Honorable Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America. The Secretary-General of ASEAN was also in attendance.
  2. ASEAN Leaders welcomed the warm message from President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America, as delivered in his letter to all ASEAN Heads of State/Government that the U.S. remains firmly committed to enhancing the ASEAN-US Strategic Partnership and appreciated the invitation by the President of the United States of America for ASEAN Heads of State/Government to attend a special summit between the two sides in the United States in 2020.
  3. We reaffirmed our shared commitment to strengthening the ASEAN-U.S. Strategic Partnership which is an important pillar for peace, security, stability and prosperity in the region. We noted with satisfaction the significant progress in the implementation of the ASEAN-U.S. Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-U.S. Strategic Partnership (2016-2020), where all action lines have been addressed, and looked forward to the development of a new Plan of Action (2021-2025) that will guide both sides in realising the full potential of the partnership for the next five years.
  4. We reaffirmed our shared commitment to maintaining and promoting peace, security and stability in the region, as well as to the peaceful resolution of disputes, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with international law, including as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). We reiterated our shared commitment to support ASEAN Centrality and ASEAN-led mechanisms in the evolving regional architecture that is open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based.
  5. ASEAN Leaders reiterated the importance of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), which is based on the principles of, among others, openness, transparency, inclusivity and a rules-based framework, and also welcomed the U.S.’ support of the AOIP and encouraged the U.S. to undertake cooperation with ASEAN in the key areas outlined in the AOIP, covering maritime cooperation, connectivity, sustainable development and economic cooperation, in order to contribute to peace, freedom and prosperity in the region. ASEAN Leaders took note of the U.S. concept for a free and open Indo-Pacific region, which underscores its commitment to support an open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based regional architecture and also looked forward to the effective utilization of the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act to support infrastructure projects in the region. In this regard, we noted with appreciation Indonesia’s initiative to convene an ASEAN Indo-Pacific Infrastructure and Connectivity Forum in 2020 to promote concrete cooperation, taking into consideration the needs of countries and the common interest of “Connecting the Connectivities” in the region. ASEAN Leaders noted with appreciation the U.S. proposal to establish a Blue Dot Network to enhance infrastructure cooperation and development. We looked forward to the two sides working together on this initiative for mutual benefit and to complement the “Connecting the Connectivities” approach.
  6. ASEAN Leaders welcomed the U.S.’ continued support for and active participation in various ASEAN-led mechanisms, such as the ASEAN Plus One, East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Plus, Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF), the ASEAN Plus United States of America Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC + US) Consultation and other meetings. We looked forward to the adoption of the EAS Leaders’ Statement on Combating the Spread of Illicit Drugs at the 14th EAS, of which the U.S. is the main proponent and Viet Nam and Russia are co-sponsors and the EAS Leaders’ Statement on Partnership for Sustainability, of which Thailand is the main proponent and China and New Zealand are the co-sponsors.
  7. We recognised that both ASEAN and the U.S. are partners with shared interest for peace, security, stability and prosperity in the region and welcomed the first ASEAN-U.S. Maritime Exercise on 2 – 6 September 2019 in international waters of Southeast Asia and the Inaugural ASEAN-U.S. Cyber Policy Dialogue held in Singapore on 3 October 2019. We looked forward to the U.S.’ continued support in further strengthening cybersecurity capacity in the region, including through the implementation of the ASEAN-U.S. Leaders’ Statement on Cybersecurity Cooperation adopted in November 2018.
  8. We noted that based on ASEAN statistics, the total merchandise trade between ASEAN and the U.S. maintained a steady growth of 11.2 percent, reaching USD 260.6 billion in 2018, while the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows from the U.S. to ASEAN amounted to USD 8.1 billion.
  9. We welcomed the progress made in the implementation of the 2018-2019 ASEAN-U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (TIFA) and the Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) Initiatives Work Plan under the ambit of the ASEAN Economic Ministers-United States Trade Representatives (AEM-USTR). ASEAN Leaders expressed our appreciation to the U.S. for the support that it continues to extend to ASEAN through U.S. ASEAN Connect and technical assistance programmes such as the ASEAN-USAID Inclusive Growth in ASEAN through Innovation, Trade, and E-commerce (IGNITE). We acknowledged IGNITE’s contribution in progressing activities under the TIFA/E3 Work Plan, in particular: bringing on board all ASEAN Member States for the live operation of the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) by the end of 2019; the operationalization of the ASEAN-wide Self-Certification Scheme (AWSC) targeted for March 2020; the organization of a High-Level Policy Dialogue on Trade, Labor, and Environment, which was conducted on 15-16 August 2019, with the support from IGNITE and; the Technical Workshop on Digital Trade which improved mutual understanding of ASEAN and the U.S. on the importance of digital trade. ASEAN Leaders also welcomed IGNITE’s support for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and encouraged the U.S. to expand its support in empowering MSMEs and promoting a more inclusive digital economy environment in the Indo-Pacific region.
  10. We were encouraged by the active role of the private sector in facilitating the development of Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) through the ASEAN SME Academy, which was co-developed by the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) and USAID in coordination with the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on MSME (ACCMSME), as well as youth development through the US-ASEAN Internship Programme that is being implemented by US-ASEAN Connect and USABC. We expressed appreciation to the Kingdom of Thailand and the United States for co-hosting the second Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Bangkok on November 4, which was an important opportunity to expand linkages between the United States and ASEAN private sectors.
  11. We recognised substantial progress achieved across 10 years of ASEAN-U.S. energy cooperation and the opportunities to further strengthen this engagement and welcomed the U.S. Asia Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy (ASIA EDGE) initiative. We welcomed additional U.S. support for developing cross-border energy grids in the Mekong region through the Japan-U.S. Mekong Power Partnership.
  12. We further recognised the importance of enhancing regional connectivity and supporting ASEAN Community-building through the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 (MPAC 2025). This includes promoting Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to foster sustainable infrastructure and strengthening the capacity of MSMEs to participate in the digital economy. We welcomed the activities under the U.S.-ASEAN Smart Cities Partnership initiative, including the US-ASEAN Symposium on 9-10 July 2019 in Washington DC. We looked forward to the planned activities under the USASCP, including workshops, sharing of best practices, development of pilot projects, private sector engagements, among others, in support of smart city development in the ASEAN region.
  13. ASEAN Leaders welcomed support from the U.S. through the ASEAN-U.S. Partnership for Regional Optimisation within the Political-Security and Socio-Cultural Communities (PROSPECT), including in good governance, rule of law, human rights, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, as well as in combating non-traditional security challenges such as trafficking in persons, violent extremism, illicit trafficking of wildlife and timber, among others. We noted with appreciation the U.S. support through ASEAN-US PROSPECT to the work of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and affirmed the importance of sharing experience and lessons learned between ASEAN and the U.S. on various human rights issues to further enhance human rights promotion and protection in the region as well as capacity building in this area.
  14. We are encouraged by the progress in developing an ASEAN gender mainstreaming strategy that would provide guidance on integrating gender perspectives in the work of all sectoral bodies in the three ASEAN Community pillars. We commended the continuing implementation of the Joint Statement on Promoting Women, Peace and Security in ASEAN adopted in 2017, welcomed the adoption of the Joint Statement on Promoting the Women, Peace and Security Agenda at the 26th ARF in Bangkok and looked forward to greater participation of women in peace processes and in strengthening the role of women in building and sustaining peace in the ASEAN region.
  15. We expressed appreciation for initiatives that contribute to human resource development and enhance people-to-people ties and empower women and youth, such as the Young Southeast Asia Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), the Fulbright US-ASEAN Visiting Scholars Initiative, the USAID Connecting the Mekong through Education and Training (COMET), the ASEAN Youth Video Contest, ASEAN Youth Social Journalism Contest, Fulbright ASEAN Research Program, US-ASEAN Internship Program, ASEAN Youth Volunteer Program and the ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women, among others. We also encouraged cooperation in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to better prepare our people for the impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution. We welcomed the announcement of the new U.S.-ASEAN Innovation Circle which will bring together entrepreneurs from the United States and ASEAN to address challenges facing the region in the digital economy, women’s entrepreneurship, socially-responsible business, and fostering a start-up conducive environment. We underscored the importance of continuing such programmes to strengthen people-to-people connectivity.
  16. ASEAN Leaders appreciated the U.S.’ support in narrowing the development gap among ASEAN Member States, and looked forward to the U.S.’ continued cooperation in the implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plan III, the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) and the dialogue between ACMECS and the U.S. as a Development Partner.
  17. We had a free flowing discussion on regional and international issues of common interest and mutual concern, including Korean Peninsula, the South China Sea and the situation in the Middle East.
  18. We welcomed the meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un on 30 June 2019 at the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) on the Korean Peninsula and urged the DPRK to return to sustained and substantive negotiations on denuclearization. We stressed the importance of continued peaceful dialogue amongst all concerned parties in order to realise lasting peace and stability in a denuclearised Korean Peninsula. We supported progressing towards the implementation of the Panmunjom Declaration, the Singapore Joint Statement by the U.S. and DPRK Leaders, and the Pyongyang Joint Declaration. We reiterated our commitment to the full implementation of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs) and noted international efforts to bring about the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. We recognized the important role that the implementation of the UNSCRs has played in fostering dialogue with the DPRK on the denuclearization. We urged the DPRK to fulfill its stated commitment to complete denuclearization and to honour its pledge to refrain from further nuclear and missile tests.
  19. We reaffirmed the importance of promoting a rules-based order in the region, including through upholding international law such as the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). We reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation in and overflight above and other lawful uses of the sea in the South China Sea. We took note of some concerns on the activities in the area, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region. We underscored the importance of the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety, and noted negotiations towards the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) consistent with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS. We reaffirmed the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS. We also emphasised the importance of non-militarisation and self-restraint.


Source: ASEAN Secretariat