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Why The Asia Pacific Region Matters

Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia (file)

"Much of the history of the 21st century will be written in this broader Asia-Pacific region."

President Barack Obama’s Administration has once again reaffirmed its strong commitment to the Asia-Pacific region, a commitment which is driven by America’s enduring interests in, and strong ties to the region – which will not change.

Why The Asia Pacific Region Matters
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"Much of the history of the 21st century will be written in this broader Asia-Pacific region, projected to become home to over 5.2 billion people by 2050. That history will have a profound impact on the people and the economy of the United States," said Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake before the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

At the same meeting, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Joseph Yun said, “We are bound to Asia through our geography, history, alliances, economies, and people-to-people ties, which will continue to grow in importance over the next decade.”

The United States has, for the past four years, made a deliberate effort to increase its engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as its political, economic, development and defense investments.

“At the core of our approach is an understanding that diplomatic, security, and economic relationships in the Asia-Pacific region are mutually supportive,” said Acting Assistant Secretary Yun. The United States is strengthening and modernizing long-standing alliances, which “have for decades underpinned the region’s stability,” and at the same time “working to build new partnerships throughout the region that can help solve shared challenges,” he said.

The United States is committed to helping develop effective multilateral institutions such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN; the East Asia Summit, the Pacific Islands Forum, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC forum; and to developing regional cooperation such as the Lower Mekong Initiative or the recently launched U.S.-ASEAN Expanded Economic Engagement, or E3 initiative.

Acting Assistant Secretary Yun affirmed,“the United States is seeking sustained adherence to democratic practices and improved governance, quality health and education, strengthened disaster preparedness/emergency response, and increased natural resource management, which will contribute to greater human security, stability, and prosperity, as well as deepen U.S. ties in the region,” he said.

“Our commitment to the Asia-Pacific region is strong and irreversible.”