Asean, US deepen cooperation to battle Covid-19

The United States and Asean leaders have agreed to strengthen their cooperation to counter the Covid-19 pandemic and recover their economies post-pandemic.

Leaders from the 10-nation bloc and the US held a virtual special foreign ministerial meeting on Wednesday, co-chaired by Lao Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Saleumxay Kommasith and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The two sides agreed to deepen their collaboration in key priority areas, particularly the joint battle against the Covid-19 epidemic through the exchange of information and good practices.

Other cooperation areas include research and development, joint production of Covid-19 vaccine, equitable access to vaccine through the COVAX Facility, and economic recovery.

They also agreed to cooperate in digital economy and sustainable development, notably the support of the Asean smart Cities network and Asean connectivity, as well as human resource development and narrowing the development gap between Asean member countries.  

According to the Jakarta Post, the online ministerial conference is the first such high-level meeting between the two sides under the administration of US President Joe Biden. Laos serves as Asean Country Coordinator for the United States.

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