“Towards a Resilient and Connected Mekong:” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Atul Keshap’s Remarks at the 2021 Friends of the Mekong Policy Dialogue

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Keshap provided opening remarks at the 2021 Friends of the Mekong Policy Dialogue on January 12, 2021.

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.

Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership (SIP)

The Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership (SIP) is a multi-partner platform established by the Friends of the Mekong for regional dialogue, capacity building, and training. SIP addresses three cross-cutting topics that are central to the Mekong River Basin’s development challenges: assessing the cumulative impact of infrastructure projects, incorporating socio-economic data in basin-level planning, and sharing critical water-related data and information necessary for science-based decision-making.

Strengthening the U.S.-Mekong Partnership

The Mekong Matters to America The Mekong region – Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam – is strategically important to the United States. The region is a focus of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy, and integral to our engagement with ASEAN. The United States aims to uphold sovereignty, transparency, good governance, ASEAN centrality, and a…