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Clinton at ASEAN Ministerial Meeting

Secretary of the State Clinton speaks to ASEAN Ministers. (VOA Video)
Secretary of the State Clinton speaks to ASEAN Ministers. (VOA Video)

The U.S. will work with all the ASEAN nations to build a stable and just regional order that will benefit every nation.

“Our increasing engagement with ASEAN is part of a broader effort by the United States to deepen our commitment to the Asia Pacific region,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said recently at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Ministerial Meeting in New York City. “We want to work with all [the ASEAN nations] to build a stable and just regional order that will benefit every nation.”

A good relationship with ASEAN is essential in working toward rules and norms that help manage relations between markets and nations; and establishing security arrangements that provide stability in the region. Engagement with ASEAN also allows for closer participation in November’s East Asia Summit, which the United States supports as a premier institution for political and strategic issues in the region.

President Obama has laid out the top three priorities for the East Asia Summit. The first is disaster relief. “From the tsunami in Aceh in 2004 and on the islands off of Thailand and in Sri Lanka, to the floods in the Philippines and Thailand again last year, to the triple disaster in Japan . . . we have seen a lot of natural disasters in this region,” Secretary Clinton said.

“It is imperative to develop a regional, legal framework to support the delivery and acceptance of emergency relief supplies, services, and personnel following major disasters. So we would urge all nations to endorse the Rapid Disaster Response Agreement as a first step.”

The second priority is nonproliferation. “It’s essential for all ASEAN and East Asia Summit nations to remain firm and unified in pursuit of the peaceful, verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Secretary Clinton said. “We also look to all ASEAN members to universalize the additional protocol and further strengthen domestic export control laws.”

The third priority is maritime security. The eighteen East Asia summit states will hold “in-depth discussions on how to improve safety on the region’s waterways, combat piracy, protect the environment,” Secretary Clinton said. “The United States ... supports ASEAN’s Six-Point Principles, which we believe will help reduce tensions and pave the way for a comprehensive code of conduct for addressing disputes without threats, coercion, or use of force.”

“ASEAN is a dynamic and crucial institution in a dynamic and crucial region of the world,” Secretary Clinton said in conclusion. The United States is committed to working with [ASEAN] very closely as we head toward the East Asia Summit ... in November.”