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Secretary Blinken’s Participation in the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
August 5, 2021

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with foreign ministers of the East Asia Summit (EAS) nations and the ASEAN Secretary General during the EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.  The Secretary reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to ASEAN and the EAS, underscoring the essential role of ASEAN-centered fora in the U.S. vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.  The Secretary and EAS foreign ministers discussed supporting implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and addressing pressing regional and international challenges, including combatting the COVID-19 pandemic and upholding the rules-based international order.

Secretary Blinken stressed the U.S. commitment to leading the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including providing more than 500 million safe and effective vaccine doses to Gavi for distribution by COVAX.  He noted that, to date, the United States has donated more than 23 million vaccine doses and over $158 million in assistance to ASEAN member states to combat COVID-19.  He also emphasized the importance of taking bold action to address the climate crisis and drive a green recovery.  The Secretary underscored the U.S. rejection of the PRC’s unlawful maritime claims in the South China Sea, in line with the July 12, 2016 Arbitral Tribunal Award.  He pledged continued U.S. support for a free and open Mekong subregion and reaffirmed U.S. commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.  He also stressed the critical role international cooperation plays in combating cybercrime, especially in consideration of the global rise in ransomware incidents.

Expressing deep concerns about the military coup in Burma, Secretary Blinken urged ASEAN to take immediate action to hold the Burmese regime accountable to the ASEAN five-point consensus.  He called for joint action to press the Burmese military to end the violence, release those unjustly detained, and restore Burma to the path to democracy.  Secretary Blinken welcomed the appointment of Brunei Foreign Minister II Erywan as ASEAN’s Special Envoy to Burma.