ASEAN-USA relationship should focus on multilateral cooperation to ensure peace, prosperity in the region – Senior Minister Hishammuddin NORILA DAUD


PUTRAJAYA JULY 14: The relationship between the ASEAN nations and the United States of America (USA) have spanned over 40 years and evolved in emerging challenges that require new approaches and reset priorities.

Senior Minister of Foreign Affairs, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said, continued cooperation between ASEAN nations and the USA augurs well with ASEAN’s long standing policy of engagement and openness.

“We understand that multilateralism was not a key focus for the previous administration but the Biden’s administration embrace of multilateral cooperation is a welcome development.

“We hope today’s Video Conference signals the US’s refreshed commitment to stronger multilateral cooperation. This path is the only way forward to ensure stability, peace, prosperity and security for our region,” Hishammuddin said at the video conference at the Special ASEAN-US Foreign Ministers/ Meeting held today.

The Senior Minister emphasized that Malaysia is looking at four factors to rapidly address the alarming COVID-19 pandemic situation that had continued its destructive path, threatening the world at an unprecedented scale.

The four factors include learning “circuit breaker” best practices from other nations to advise the health authorities; obtaining testing expertise and capabilities to further complement our current testing infrastructure; leveraging on our ties with vaccine-producing and/or exporting partners to increase our vaccine supply and equally important is the mutual recognition of vaccination certification to facilitate cross-border travel for our nationals in the future.

Hishammuddin said, the ASEAN-US should focus on reigniting the economies and reversing the damages of COVID-19 has brought on us. ASEAN and US must further enhance our cooperation where trade between US and ASEAN countries total is over 260 Billion US Dollars.

 Malaysia is one of the top five ASEAN country import suppliers for the US at 39.4 Billion US Dollars. It is pertinent for both sides to remain committed in preserving and maintaining our open and connected supply chains.

Hishammuddin also highlighted that Malaysia reiterates the call for de-escalation of the situation in Myanmar as a matter of priority.

“We urge all parties to contribute to a conducive environment for national dialogue and reconciliation to take place.

“At the same time Malaysia seeks assistance of our partners such as the United States to consider accepting more Rohingya refugees for the third country resettlement from Malaysia. We hope their third country resettlement would provide them with better living conditions, education for their children and youth and a chance to rebuild their life to have a home and a future,” Hishammuddin added.

The Senior Minister also mentioned that Malaysia remains firm on matters relating to South China Sea as it must be resolved peacefully and constructively through dialogue and consultations, utilising the appropriate fora and diplomatic channels in accordance to international law including UNCLOS 1982.   

Other areas where ASEAN and US can further strengthen cooperation include cyber security, digital development and transnational crime. 

Regarding the situation in Korean Peninsula, Hishammuddin said the US has a vital role to play with the relevant parties to prevent DPRK from resuming its nuclear build-up, in line with the decisions taken by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

“Resumption of dialogue between the US and DPRK as well as between DPRK and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are crucial towards building a conducive environment for negotiations to continue. Confidence building efforts must also proceed among the different parties so as to build trust, and encourage Pyongyang to remain at the negotiation table.

Referring to the situation in Palestine, Hishammuddin said the recent attacks by Israel are in total disregard of all international laws and the international community cannot choose to remain silent and oblivious.

“As we welcome the mutual, unconditional ceasefire in Gaza, Malaysia urges all conflicting parties to respect and adhere to the ceasefire, and refrain from taking any actions that may undermine it. We must now focus on rebuilding Gaza by providing immediate and unimpeded humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people,” he added. –Malaysia World News.      



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