US Ambassador to Vietnam Marc Evans Knapper


ASEAN centrality is the very heart of President Biden’s Administration’s strategy to see an Indo-Pacific that is free and open, connected, prosperous, resilient and secure. The US firmly supports the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific – ASEAN’s vision for its future.The US welcomes a strong and independent ASEAN that leads in Southeast Asia; endorses ASEAN centrality and supports ASEAN in its efforts to deliver sustainable solutions to the region’s most pressing challenges.

Since becoming dialogue partners in 1977, the US and ASEAN have marked significant milestones, especially since the announcement of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership at the Special Summit. Starting in the early 1990s, the US-ASEAN development cooperation increased dramatically through the launch of economic programmes focusing on trade and investment, technology transfer, and education. In 2008, the US became the first non-ASEAN country to name an ASEAN ambassador. In 2011, the US became the first non-ASEAN country to establish a dedicated mission to ASEAN in Jakarta.

The pace of US-ASEAN relations grew as the two sides elevated the relationship to a Strategic Partnership in 2015, and the US hosted the first US-ASEAN Summit in 2016.

We have evolved from exchanging views on political and security issues to being the number-one investment partner for ASEAN member countries, working closely with regional partners as we develop our vision of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), to advance resilience, inclusiveness, and competitiveness for our economies; and contributing to more regional cooperation, peace, stability, prosperity, and sustainable development.

Our increasing partnership comes with real-world benefits, including Asia Maritime Security Initiative to improve maritime cooperation and uphold international law to resolve the geopolitical challenge and the launch of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Southeast Asia Regional Office that Vice President Kamala Harris announced in August 2021 in Hanoi.

As the President has stated, we are not only celebrating 45 years of partnership and friendship between ASEAN and the US, but we are also launching a new era in US-ASEAN relations. This can be seen from the fact that the two sides held a special summit to celebrate the 45th anniversary of ASEAN-US relations in Washington and pledged to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership by the end of this year.

I was honoured to welcome Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his delegation during his trip to the US for the historic US-ASEAN Special Summit – the first ever to be hosted in Washington, D.C. We also hope to upgrade our bilateral relationship with Vietnam. Our Indo-Pacific Strategy and Indo-Pacific Economic Framework make clear that this partnership and Vietnam are central to our engagement in this vital region.

Overall, I expect continued high-level engagements, cooperation on strategic issues, and working together to seize tremendous opportunities for us to deepen and expand collaboration to achieve our mutual goals: rebuilding global supply chains; accelerating clean energy transition and sustainable growth; addressing the crisis in Myanmar; developing the digital economy in line with global best practices and bringing world-class US products and services to Vietnam and ASEAN, to support a free and open, connected, prosperous, resilient and secure Indo-Pacific.