"[I]t is an incredibly consequential year for American policy in the Asian Pacific region across many fronts," Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said during a recent discussion with the international press concerning U.S. foreign policy goals in Southeast Asia in 2011.
Assistant Secretary Campbell just returned from a trip to the Philippines and Singapore where the United States is looking to enhance our long-standing partnerships.
While in the Philippines, Assistant Secretary Campbell and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Derek Mitchell held the first-ever Bilateral Strategic Dialogue with their Philippine counterparts. Assistant Secretary Campbell said, “This is the first time we’ve ever had such a dialogue to review areas of common purpose, to underscore our strong commitment to the security of the Philippines and to find areas that we can work together in the future.”
Assistant Secretary Campbell also said that the United States plans to work closely with the Philippines on a new program to identify areas of increased political, security and economic engagement, which will strengthen and deepen the U.S.-Philippines bilateral relationship.
In Singapore, the United States is interested in deepening bilateral cooperation on regional and transnational challenges. Assistant Secretary Campbell’s meetings in Singapore were an opportunity for both countries to work to strengthen their close partnership built on mutual respect, shared values, shared responsibilities, and robust economic ties.
Assistant Secretary Campbell also said that one of the most important contributions the United States can make to the region is to help with economic recovery. "President Obama is working very closely with new members of his Cabinet and in the White House to underscore his commitment to boost exports," he said, "particularly to the Asian Pacific region."
Assistant Secretary Campbell said, "We recognize that Asian friends are grateful for a reengagement at the strategic and political level. Obviously, they know of our enduring military commitments in the Asian Pacific region. What they are really looking for us to do is to step ... economically, commercially, and in trade."
As one aspect of our economic engagement, the United States will be hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, meetings in Hawaii in 2011. "We are looking to streamline the agenda," Assistant Secretary Campbell concluded, "and make clear the continuing relevance of APEC as an institution in the Asian Pacific region."