Secretary of State John Kerry laid out U.S. priorities in the economic, security, and cultural realms.
“ASEAN has been at the center of the Asia Pacific’s regional architecture... [and] is also at the center of the United States’ strategy to rebalance our resources and our engagement in the region,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in his opening remarks to the Association of South East Asian Nations, or ASEAN, Ministerial Meeting held recently in New York City. Those remarks reflect the increasing import the United States places on the East Asia and Pacific region and the important role of ASEAN.
In October, President Obama and Secretary Kerry will take part in the East Asia Summit and the U.S.-ASEAN Summit. In his remarks, Secretary Kerry laid out U.S. priorities in the economic, security, and cultural realms. One of the biggest priorities of the United States’ engagement is to help build an integrated ASEAN economic community by 2015, which will help the 600 million South East Asians who live in the ten ASEAN countries, to achieve their economic dreams.
“The ASEAN Expanded Economic Engagement Initiative, known as E3, is a framework for economic cooperation that will create new business opportunities and new jobs on both sides of the Pacific,” Secretary Kerry said.
“Another of our goals is, obviously, peace and security . . . Our shared security is a prerequisite for our shared prosperity,” Secretary Kerry said. “This is going to require respect for international law and unimpeded lawful commerce in the South China Sea. And that’s why China and ASEAN should move as swiftly as possible to reach a binding code of conduct for addressing disputes without threats, without coercion, and without use of force.”
“The relationships between our countries are only going to be as strong as the relationships between our citizens,” Secretary Kerry said. “[The] third priority . . . is stronger people-to-people ties.”
As an example of increased ties amongst ASEAN and U.S. citizens, this year, the first scholars in the new Fulbright U.S. – ASEAN Initiative began their exchange studies.
“The United States and ASEAN . . . together recognize the unlimited potential for cooperation in the region,” said Secretary Kerry. “Our partnership can play a central role in promoting peace and prosperity in the 21st century.”