"The Obama Administration is committed to broad, deep, and sustained engagement in Asia," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the recent Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN Ministerial, meetings in Hanoi, Vietnam.
"Over the last 18 months, we have signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, announced our intention to open a mission and name an ambassador to ASEAN in Jakarta, and held the first U.S.-ASEAN summit. And we have pursued new sub-regional efforts like our new Mekong Delta partnership," said Secretary of State Clinton. As highlighted in Secretary Clinton's announcement of the United States' planned participation in the East Asia Summit, the U.S. seeks to be a partner in regional institution-building. Acceding to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia is a first step in this ambition and further strengthens U.S. ties in Asia.
"The East Asia Summit plays an increasing role in the challenges of our time," said Secretary of State Clinton. A number of such challenges were discussed during the meetings. Chief among them were North Korea's failure to live up to its international obligations resulting in sanctions imposed on North Korea by the United Nations; Burma's upcoming elections, and the continuing detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners; and developments surrounding territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
"The United States, like every nation, has a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia's maritime commons, and respect for international law in the South China Sea. We share these interests not only with ASEAN members or ASEAN Regional Forum participants, but with other maritime nations and the broader international community," Secretary Clinton said.
The U.S., ASEAN, and others in Asia have a shared vision to meet and collectively resolve such challenges. The U.S. is optimistic that together we can turn this shared vision into action, making progress in our goals for a better future.
"The United States is a Pacific nation, and we are committed to being an active partner with ASEAN," said Secretary of State Clinton. "Our partnership is rooted in common interests. We are committed to assisting the nations of Southeast Asia to remain strong and independent, and that each nation enjoys peace, stability, prosperity, and access to universal human rights."