Why The Mekong Region Matters to the United States, ASEAN, and the Indo-Pacific

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell published an article titled "Why the Mekong Region Matters to the United States, ASEAN, and the Indo-Pacific" in the Cambodia Institute for Cooperation and Peace (CICP) Journal of Greater Mekong Studies.

United States and Vietnam Convene 17 Friends of the Mekong in Support of a Secure, Prosperous, and Open Mekong Region

On January 12, the United States and Vietnam co-hosted the first Friends of the Mekong Policy Dialogue under the new Mekong-U.S. Partnership. In his remarks, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Ambassador Atul Keshap emphasized that the United States is committed to a secure, open, and prosperous Mekong region, highlighting the importance of this region to ASEAN centrality and to the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. The 17 participating countries and institutions under the Mekong-U.S. Partnership and the Friends of the Mekong offered recommendations on sustainable infrastructure development and connectivity; human resource development and building the foundations for a Mekong digital economy; sustainable water, natural resource management, and environmental protection; and COVID response and regional collaboration on health security.

Message from our Ambassadors

Now more than ever, the United States sees the importance of a partnership with the Mekong Region. Perhaps the best example of that is the new Mekong-U.S. Partnership, which was launched in 2020 as a successor to the Lower Mekong Initiative. This partnership – with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the ASEAN Secretariat – aims to improve lives in the Mekong Region by spurring economic growth, improving natural resource management, and tackling transnational crime. “We are open to working with all partners who shared our principled, transparent approach,” said Melissa A. Brown, Head of the U.S. Mission to ASEAN. Watch this video to learn more:

Webinar: An Uncertain Future: Working Towards a Thriving Tonle Sap

The U.S. Department of State and the Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership are pleased to announce the second Mekong Virtual Symposium. As part of the U.S. Vision for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, the U.S. government is committed to providing a platform that encourages information sharing, dialogue, collaboration, and stakeholder engagement for cooperative, responsible management of the Mekong River. The U.S. engagement in the Mekong region has long supported transparent, open cooperation for sustainable management of the river. This program will engage key stakeholders on the range of issues facing the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia: fishing and fish migration, plastics, floods and droughts, sediment, and dam impacts. As drought and dams have led the Mekong’s flow reversal to happen later and later each year, the Tonle Sap now faces an uncertain future.

Mekong Virtual Symposium: “An Uncertain Future: Working Towards a Thriving Tonle Sap”

Pact Thailand is organizing the second Mekong Virtual Symposium: An Uncertain Future: Working Towards a Thriving Tonle Sap as part of the Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership (SIP). This event is open to the public, and interested participants are encouraged to RSVP on https://www.mekongwater.org/mekong-virtual-symposium.

Indo-Pacific Conference on Strengthening Transboundary Rivers Governance

The United States Department of State, in partnership with the East-West Center, will host a virtual Indo-Pacific Conference on Strengthening Transboundary Rivers Governance on October 15-16. The invitation-only conference brings together practitioners, experts, and national and civil society representatives to focus on Enhancing Transparency, Partnerships & Stakeholder Engagement. This event includes sessions on "Transparency and Partnerships in Transboundary River Governance," "Negotiating Transboundary River Governance," "Stakeholder Engagement in Transboundary River Governance," and "Next Steps for Strengthening Governance of Transboundary Rivers." Assistant Secretary David Stilwell and U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Michael DeSombre will give opening and closing remarks, respectively.

Mekong-U.S. Partnership at a glance

The Mekong-U.S. Partnership expands cooperation between the United States and the countries of the Mekong region.

Mekong-U.S. Partnership Joint Statement

The United States and Mekong Partner countries released a Joint Statement on the launch of the Mekong-U.S. Partnership.

U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus on the Mekong-U.S. Partnership

State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus delivers a video message on the Mekong-U.S. Partnership

Secretary of State Pompeo Statement on the launch of the Mekong-U.S. Partnership

Secretary of State Pompeo's statement following the inaugural Mekong-U.S. Partnership Ministerial Meeting notes the common principles, shared priorities, and current challenges facing the Mekong sub-region that form the basis of the longstanding and ongoing cooperation between the United States and the countries in the Mekong sub-region. The United States welcomes this expanded partnership and remains…

Mekong-U.S. Partnership Fact Sheet

The Department of State released a comprehensive Fact Sheet during the launch of the Mekong-U.S. Partnership highlighting accomplishments and identifying next steps in Mekong-U.S. cooperation. New areas of cooperation under the Mekong-U.S. Partnership include expanded support for public health and pandemic response, water data information sharing, countering transnational crime and the trafficking of persons, drugs,…

Deputy Secretary of State Launches new Mekong-U.S. Partnership

Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Beigun and the Foreign Ministers of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam launched the Mekong-U.S. Partnership at the first Mekong-U.S. Partnership Ministerial Meeting held online on September 11. The ASEAN Secretary General joined this inaugural meeting. With this new Partnership, the United States and Mekong partner countries are building…