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