May 12, 2020
As President Trump has said, the United States is working with our friends and partners around the world to coordinate our efforts on stopping the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States values our cooperation with allies and partners in combatting the pandemic and in planning for our collective recovery. In addition to the leadership of the President and Secretary of State with their G7, G20, ASEAN, and other counterparts, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E. Biegun has led regular deputy minister-level coordination calls with allies and partners since March 19.
These calls have allowed the United States and our Indo-Pacific partners to share ideas and best practices for responding to the unique and complex challenges presented by the global pandemic and to plan for safely re-opening our economies, in line with our shared interest in a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Through collaboration among Indo-Pacific partners, we have:
- Enabled tens of thousands of our citizens to return home to their families and loved ones, even as borders have closed and commercial flights options have disappeared;
- Facilitated the maintenance of critical supplies of vital protective equipment and medical supplies to strengthen our public health systems’ abilities to combat the pandemic;
- Emphasized the importance of ensuring foreign citizens employed in essential economic sectors in our countries have been able to continue working;
- Identified countries in the Indo-Pacific most vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic and coordinated on how to best support those at-risk;
- Collaborated on upholding the rules-based international order and international peace and security and on countering the efforts of those who seek to exploit the pandemic to undermine these principles, including through disinformation;
- Discussed options for an independent review of the COVID-19 outbreak to clarify facts around its genesis, its development into a pandemic, and the WHO’s response, in order to prevent future global health crises;
- Reaffirmed the importance of sharing information in a free, transparent, and prompt manner when responding to infectious diseases;
- Identified opportunities in multilateral meetings and fora to respond to and address challenges the pandemic has posed, including APEC, ASEAN and ASEAN-related fora, the G7 and the G20; and
- Shared best practices on how free and open societies can combat the pandemic while continuing to uphold principles of good governance.
As we begin to re-open our societies and restart the global economy, the United States and our Indo-Pacific partners will continue to collaborate, through bilateral, ASEAN-related, APEC and other multilateral efforts, on:
- Sharing best practices and lessons learned as our societies, business, and governments return to work;
- Mitigating the effects of border closures and diminished transportation links on global supply chains;
- Maintaining necessary aviation and transportation links to allow essential movement of cargo and people, including business travel;
- Strengthening resiliency and sustainability of regional and global supply chains to contribute to stability and prosperity of the international community;
- Advancing efforts to develop vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics and once developed, make them available, accessible, and affordable to all;
- Promoting transparency and the timely sharing of public health data and information with the international community to address emerging diseases and potential global health threats;
- Strengthening the ability of multilateral institutions and fora to respond to the pandemic and future crises;
- Taking actions to reenergize global growth and economic prosperity;
- Leading global assistance efforts to help vulnerable countries build resilience and have the resources to respond to pandemic; and
- Strengthening good governance and the rules-based international order, while upholding the principles of transparency, accountability and sharing of accurate information, and countering efforts by those who seek undermine these principles through disinformation and coercion.
The United States and our Indo-Pacific partners welcome coordination with partners and international organizations that share our interest in a free and open Indo-Pacific in which all countries prosper side by side as sovereign, independent states.
Close collaboration between the United States and the Republic of Korea remains essential in our efforts to combat the global pandemic. Our enduring alliance has ensured the delivery of crucial medical supplies, including 750,000 tests and 2 million masks to the United States, and enabled the successful repatriation of U.S. and Korean citizens. The Republic of Korea’s success in holding legislative elections during the pandemic has set an example for the rest of the world, and we appreciate the Korean government’s commitment to democracy and transparency. The United States is thankful for this partnership, and will continue to work closely with the Republic of Korea to stop the spread of the virus.