While in Indonesia, one of the stops on his recent tour of the East Asia and Pacific region, Vice President Mike Pence visited the Secretariat of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations, or ASEAN, and called on Secretary General Le Luong Minh.
Speaking before the ASEAN Secretariat, Vice President Pence congratulated the organization on the 50th anniversary of its founding. He also noted the long-term cooperation between ASEAN and the United States, and its importance: “This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the United States’ diplomatic relationship with ASEAN. Our relationship without a doubt has benefitted both ASEAN and America--diplomatically, economically, and from the standpoint of national security,” he said. “And under President Trump’s leadership, the United States is already taking steps to strengthen our [strategic] partnership with ASEAN and deepen our friendship.”
To reflect the high value the Trump administration places on our relationship with ASEAN, and with the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, President Donald Trump will in November attend the U.S.-ASEAN summit and the East Asia Summit in the Philippines, as well as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC summit in Vietnam, said Vice President Pence.
“By strengthening our economic ties, the United States and ASEAN member nations can foster jobs, prosperity, and growth in new and unprecedented ways…U.S. companies invest more in ASEAN and its members than any other part of Asia, nearly $274 billion, which is more, in fact, than our investment in China, India, and Japan combined.
“To protect that prosperity and to ensure our continued growth, the United States will redouble our cooperation with ASEAN on issues of regional security,” he said.
“We’ll continue to work closely with ASEAN to promote peace and stability in the South China Sea by upholding a rules-based order, ensuring the lawful and unimpeded flow of commerce, and encouraging the peaceful and diplomatic resolution of disputes.
“For 40 years, the United States has worked side by side with ASEAN to foster peace and prosperity on these seas and between our lands,” said Vice President Pence. “Together we will build on our firm foundation to reach even greater heights in the next 50 years of this great organization.”