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Risch, Menendez, Gardner, Markey Recognize Vietnam for Assuming Chairmanship of ASEAN

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), chairman and ranking member of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, today congratulated Vietnam on assuming the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). ASEAN is an important multilateral organization for advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“We recognize and congratulate Vietnam for assuming the chairmanship of ASEAN, and thank Thailand for its effective stewardship in 2019,” said the senators.

“We look forward to a fruitful year of collaboration that leads to concrete progress on the most critical issues for ASEAN members and the entire Indo-Pacific region. The time is ripe to realize the ASEAN Economic Community, build capacity in the industries of the future, and posture ASEAN as a driver of regional economic growth. ASEAN members, including Vietnam, have demonstrated a willingness to stand up for freedom of navigation and international law in the South China Sea. We look forward to Vietnam exercising this type of leadership and cooperating with its ASEAN partners on these issues in the coming year, especially as ASEAN and China negotiate a Code of Conduct. It is also important that ASEAN members advance human rights, protect the fundamental dignity of its citizens, and foster responsive governance across the region.

“ASEAN is an important partner to the United States. In the coming year, we are committed to deepening this relationship, starting with the U.S.-ASEAN summit. We also look forward to supporting the many promising U.S.-ASEAN initiatives underway, including those authorized by the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act.”