EU-U.S.: Joint by EEAS and Department of State on High-Level Consultations on Indo-Pacific

The following is the text of a joint press release by the U.S. Department of State and the European External Action Service.

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Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman and European External Action Service Secretary General Stefano Sannino led the first U.S.-EU high-level consultations on the Indo-Pacific on December 3 in Washington.

The two reviewed their respective Indo-Pacific engagement and strategies. Both reaffirmed their intention to work together and with partners in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific that is inclusive, based on the rule of law and democratic values, and contributes to the stability, security, and sustainable development of the region. The United States and the European Union share a strategic interest in strengthening cooperation with partners in the Indo-Pacific on the basis of shared values and interests, and in support of multilateral rules-based frameworks. Both sides reaffirmed the importance of ASEAN centrality and supporting a strong and independent ASEAN.

They affirmed their shared goal to coordinate on Indo-Pacific engagement and identified possible priority areas and immediate themes for cooperation, such as the fight against the climate crisis (including prevention and rapid response to natural disasters), public health and pandemic response and preparedness (including support for COVAX, advancing global health security, and support to national health care systems), freedom of navigation and maritime security, human rights, core labor standards as defined by the ILO (including those addressing child labor), good governance, infrastructure, critical and emerging technology, cybersecurity, and countering disinformation. The United States and the EU share an interest in security, stability, and predictability in the region, including regarding freedom of navigation and overflight in accordance with international law as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention. They reconfirmed their interest in stability and the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, and both sides noted a shared interest in deepening cooperation with Taiwan consistent with their respective “one-China” policies.

Deputy Secretary Sherman and Secretary General Sannino recognized the significant infrastructure development needs of partners in the Indo-Pacific region. They recalled the intention expressed by President Biden, President von der Leyen, and President Michel at the 2021 U.S.-EU summit and in the margins of the COP 26 to enhance cooperation on sustainable connectivity, quality infrastructure, and to address the climate crisis through infrastructure development.

They reaffirmed the U.S. and EU goal of promoting infrastructure development, including digital infrastructure, that is high-standard, transparent, resilient, and sustainable, and that facilitates the green transition. As part of this goal, they reiterated the United States’ and EU’s shared interest in a transparent, sustainable, and fair regulatory and policy environment in the Indo-Pacific that attracts private and public investment. They expressed their intention to exchange best practices and identify areas of complementarity among existing U.S., EU, regional and multilateral infrastructure initiatives including the Build Back Better World initiative and the EU Global Gateway.

The Deputy Secretary and Secretary General agreed to continue these consultations as appropriate.

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