Secretary Blinken in Mekong-U.S. Partnership Ministers’ Meeting

Washington, DC (STL.News) The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

On August 2, Secretary Blinken co-hosted the second Mekong-U.S. Partnership ministerial.  The Secretary emphasized U.S. commitment to a resilient, secure, interconnected, and open Mekong sub-region and emphasized the region’s importance to the prosperity and unity of ASEAN. The Secretary unveiled the Mekong-U.S. Partnership’s four flagship projects, noted the 8.5 million vaccine doses and over $58 million in U.S. COVID-19 assistance to Mekong sub-region countries, and described how the United States government has provided $4.3 billion in foreign assistance to the sub-region since 2009.

The six Partnership countries discussed progress on improving COVID-19 response and health security; delivering sustainable infrastructure development including through the Japan-U.S.-Mekong Power Partnership; empowering human capital and building the foundations for a Mekong digital economy; promoting women’s economic empowerment; protecting the environment and sustainably managing water and other natural resources; and combating non-traditional security threats, including trafficking in persons, wildlife, timber, narcotics, and weapons.  The Secretary highlighted that U.S. engagement with civil society across the sub-region is critical to accomplishing the goals of the Partnership.

Secretary Blinken urged the countries to take immediate action to hold the Burmese military regime accountable to the ASEAN five-point consensus.  He called for joint action to press the Burmese military regime to end the violence, release those unjustly detained, and restore Burma to the path to democracy.