ASEAN-US summit shows US 'values partnership' with Southeast Asia: PM Lee

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WASHINGTON: The ASEAN-US Special Summit shows that US values its partnership with Southeast Asia amid a “very significant moment” in world affairs, said Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday (May 13).

"We have the war in Ukraine, Russia has invaded, we’re post-COVID, coming out from COVID. We also have issues in the region. US-China relations are complicated and difficult.

"And in the midst of all this, for the US to focus on ASEAN and to bring the ASEAN leaders here and cultivate that relationship and develop it further, I think it shows that the US values its partnership with ASEAN, Southeast Asia, and that they would like to do more with us ... That's good for the region and good for us.

"Singapore's view has been for a long time that the US plays a constructive impact, indispensable role in our region. Nobody else can replace them in that role and the regional balance is shifting, but all the more we appreciate the US continuing to remain engaged."

Mr Lee was speaking to Singapore journalists at the end of his visit to Washington DC to attend the ASEAN-US Special Summit.

In a joint statement released after the summit, ASEAN member states and the US committed to establishing an ASEAN-US Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in November.

The countries also reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining and promoting peace, security and stability in the region.

At a meeting with US President Joe Biden on Friday, Mr Lee said Singapore welcomes the upgrade of the ASEAN-US Strategic Partnership to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

"We look forward to a meaningful, substantive and mutually beneficial Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, one that allows us to explore further cooperation in important areas such as public health goods and infrastructure, and renewable energy infrastructure," he said.

The joint statement also addressed the situation in Myanmar, over which ASEAN member states and the US said they remain "deeply concerned".

Urging Myanmar to implement the Five-Point Consensus in a "timely and complete" manner, the leaders committed to support ASEAN's efforts to facilitate a peaceful solution.

"We reiterate our commitment to peace and stability in the region and continue to call for the immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and for the release of all political detainees, including foreigners...

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