“A significant part of the history of the 21st century will be written . . . in Asia, and much of that history will be driven by what happens in Southeast Asia.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said recently before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, Ministerial Meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. “This is why the United States believes that our relationship with ASEAN is of the highest importance.”
Secretary Kerry highlighted three areas in U.S.-ASEAN cooperation: economic opportunity, political security, and people to people ties.
The United States believes that our relationship with ASEAN is of the highest importance.”
“First, the United States supports ASEAN’s . . . goals [of] creating dynamic, open economies and establishing [an]integrated ASEAN economic community by the end of 2015,” Secretary Kerry said. “We will invest significantly in technical assistance to support these goals.”
“Second . . . is our political security engagement with ASEAN,” Secretary Kerry said. “We are committed to ensuring a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Southeast Asia, and that’s why we’re working together on a whole range of . . . security issues from wildlife trafficking to . . . trafficking in persons, nonproliferation, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.”
“We are focused on two issues of particular concern: maritime security and cyber security,” Secretary Kerry continued.
“While [the United States] does not take a position on competing territorial claims . . . we have a strong interest in the manner in which the disputes of the South China Sea are addressed and in the conduct of the parties.
"We very much hope to see progress soon on a substantive code of conduct in order to help ensure stability in this vital region. The United States is also . . . eager to help ASEAN member states build capacity . . . [to ensure] that all of us are protected against cyber threats and . . . to reduce the risks that these cyber threats carry.”
“Finally . . . a third priority [is] the United States’ commitment to . . . deepening our people to people ties,” Secretary Kerry said in conclusion. “These connections are really the foundation of our long term relationship, and that’s why we have continually increased our engagement with ASEAN on environment, health, cultural, and educational matters, including exchanges between academies . . . scientists . . . artists, and youth .
"We take our Pacific responsibilities and partnership[s] seriously, and we will continue to build an active and an enduring presence in [the Asia-Pacific region].”