Chairman's Statement of the 6th ASEAN-United States Summit



1.      The 6th ASEAN-United States (US) Summit was held in Singapore on 15 November 2018. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, and attended by all Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member States and H.E. Michael R. Pence, Vice President of the United States of America. The Secretary-General of ASEAN was also in attendance.

2.      We reaffirmed the ASEAN-US Strategic Partnership that was established in 2015 and the sustained importance of ASEAN-US Dialogue Relations, which continues to strengthen following the 5th ASEAN-US Summit that commemorated the 40th Anniversary of ASEAN-US Dialogue Relations in 2017.

3.      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. ASEAN Leaders took note of the US’ concept for a free and open Indo-Pacific region, which underscores its commitment to support an open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based regional architecture. We also looked forward to the implementation of the US’ announcement of USD 300 million in new funding to reinforce security cooperation in the region.

4.      ASEAN Leaders welcomed the US’ continued support and active participation in various ASEAN-led mechanisms such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) and other meetings.

5.      We recognised the complex challenges in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, including the need to address root causes of terrorism and the flow of foreign terrorist fighters in and to the region, and acknowledged the need for enhanced cooperation, including, as appropriate, through the implementation of the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism (ACCT).

6.      We acknowledged the importance of strengthening cooperation in combatting transnational crime, particularly trafficking in persons, illicit drug trafficking and illicit trafficking of wildlife and timber. We supported the implementation of the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) and the ASEAN Work Plan on Securing Communities Against Illicit Drugs 2016-2025, among other ASEAN instruments.

7.      We further recognised the need to strengthen resilience and capacity in the area of cybersecurity and welcomed the adoption of the ASEAN-US Leaders’ Statement on Cybersecurity Cooperation. We welcomed the establishment of the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN), and the US’ interest in developing meaningful and mutually beneficial collaboration through the USASEAN Smart Cities Partnership (USASCP).

8.      We noted that the US is ASEAN’s third largest trading partner with a total two-way trade of USD 235.2 billion in 2017. We also noted that foreign direct investment (FDI) flows from the US to ASEAN amounted to USD 5.4 billion in the same year, placing the US as ASEAN’s fourth largest external source of FDI. ASEAN Leaders looked forward to increasing trade and investment cooperation with the US. We noted the concern of some ASEAN Leaders on issues relating to unfair market access and treatment for palm oil.

9      We were pleased to note the progress made in the 2017-2018 implementation of the ASEAN-US Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (TIFA) and the Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) Initiatives Work Plan, and looked forward to more progress in the new areas of cooperation in 2018-2019 under the ASEAN-US TIFA and E3 Initiatives Work Plan. We reaffirmed our commitment to further enhance trade and investment ties between ASEAN and the US. Towards this end, we welcomed the implementation of the US-ASEAN Connect Digital Economy Series as a strategic initiative for digital economic engagement between ASEAN and the US. ASEAN Leaders also welcomed the US’ commitment to enhancing economic growth and competitiveness through initiatives announced at the first Indo-Pacific Business Forum in July 2018 that promote peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.

10.      We underlined the importance of technology to enhance the capacity and competitiveness of ASEAN in the micro, small and medium enterprises sector. To this end, we looked forward to further deepening existing cooperation in the field of information and communications technologies (ICTs) through, inter alia, capacity-building programmes for young innovators and entrepreneurs in ASEAN Member States. We welcomed the launch of the US-ASEAN Internship Programme in May 2018.

11.      We appreciated the US’ support for ASEAN’s economic integration and efforts to promote community-building through various development cooperation programmes, and looked forward to the US’ support for the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration Work Plan III. We noted the conclusion of the ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment (ACTI) and the ASEAN-US Partnership for Good Governance, Equitable and Sustainable Development and Security (PROGRESS) programmes, and looked forward to the implementation of their successor programmes, namely the Inclusive Growth in ASEAN through Innovation, Trade and E-commerce (IGNITE) and the ASEAN-US Partnership for Regional Optimisation within the Political-Security and Socio-Cultural Communities (PROSPECT), which will commence in late-2018.

12.      We expressed appreciation for initiatives that enhance people-to-people ties and empower women and youth, such as the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), the Fulbright US-ASEAN Visiting Scholars Initiative, the ASEAN Youth Volunteers Programme, ASEAN Youth Video Contests, ASEAN Youth Citizen Journalism Contest, ASEAN-US Internship Programme, and the ASEAN-US Science Prize for Women, among others.

13.      We welcomed the progress made in the implementation of the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-US Strategic Partnership (2016-2020) and looked forward to enhancing collaboration at international and regional fora and continuing dialogue at the highest level through existing ASEAN-led mechanisms.

14.      We had a free flowing discussion on regional and international issues of common interest and concern, including the Korean Peninsula, South China Sea, situation in the Middle East, including Palestine, and the global economy.

15.     We noted the serious concerns over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s failure to comply with United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) calling for the immediate abandonment of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, as well as the threat these programmes pose to international peace and security. We recognised the important role that the implementation of UNSCRs has played in initiating dialogue with the DPRK on denuclearisation. We urged the DPRK to fulfil its stated commitment to complete denuclearisation and to honour its pledge to refrain from further nuclear and missile tests.

16.      We welcomed the Inter-Korean Summits held on 27 April 2018, 26 May 2018 and from 18 to 20 September 2018, as well as the Singapore Summit between the US and the DPRK on 12 June 2018. We also welcomed the Panmunjom Declaration and the Pyongyang Joint Declaration signed between President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea and Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK Kim Jong Un, as well as the Joint Statement signed between US President Donald J Trump and Chairman Kim.

17.      We reiterated our commitment to the full implementation of all relevant UNSCRs by all UN member states. In this context, we are committed to the international efforts to bring about complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation.

18.      We affirmed the importance of promoting a rules-based order in the region, including through upholding international law such as the 1982 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 discussed the matters relating to the South China Sea and took note of some concerns on the land reclamations and 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 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.

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