“The United States has an enduring commitment to the Asia Pacific, and [we have] elevated our engagement across Asia as a strategic priority of our foreign policy.” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said at the U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. “A central pillar of that strategy is to work more closely with ASEAN, to deepen our economic, strategic, and people-to-people engagement.”
ASEAN plays an indispensable role in holding the region’s institutional architecture together and in advancing the common interests of all stakeholders in the Asia Pacific.
“When I’m asked in my country why I put so much emphasis on ASEAN, I tell people that we work with ASEAN on the issues that are of central importance to the United States, from maritime security to nonproliferation to economic growth,” Secretary Clinton Said. “We are working cooperatively and collaboratively on opportunities and challenges in the Asia Pacific region, because we believe ... that so much of the future will be determined in this region.”
On development assistance, the U.S. has created the Asia Pacific Strategic Engagement Initiative, which seeks to align resources with the priorities the U.S. is pursuing in partnership with ASEAN countries, focusing on regional security cooperation, economic integration and trade, engagement in the Lower Mekong region, transnational threats, democratic development, and war legacies.
“We’re working not only on a bilateral basis but also regionally in order to get the best possible results,” Secretary Clinton said. “This adds up to a robust, systematic assistance package that will secure sustained levels of American support for the things we all care most about.”
On disaster relief, the United States announced last year a Rapid Disaster Response Agreement, which establishes a legal framework that will lead to more effective deliveries of supplies, service, and personnel in the aftermath of a major disaster.
On people-to-people initiatives, the U.S. has created a U.S.-ASEAN Young Leaders Summit to connect the next generation of leaders. “This fall, the United States will welcome the first students to Hawaii under the Brunei-U.S. English language initiative,” Secretary Clinton said. “We have also created a pilot program for a new Fulbright-ASEAN exchange to deepen our educational ties.”
“The United States is committed to our partnership, and we welcome the contributions of other ASEAN dialogue partners,” Secretary Clinton said in conclusion. “We are invested in the future peace, stability, and prosperity of this region.”