Today, Secretary Clinton participated in a press availability at the ASEAN Summit in Laguna Phuket, Thailand. The Secretary stressed America’s commitment to strengthen our presence and engagement in the region and build a deeper, more dynamic partnership with ASEAN. Secretary Clinton said:
"The United States is back in Southeast Asia. President Obama and I believe that this region is vital to global progress, peace, and prosperity, and we are fully engaged with our ASEAN partners on the wide range of challenges confronting us, from regional and global security to the economic crisis to human rights and climate change.
After this, I will have the honor of signing, on behalf of the United States, the Instrument of Accession to the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation. This treaty seals our commitment to work in partnership with the nations of ASEAN to advance the interests and values we share.
I am also proud to announce that the United States intends to open a U.S. mission to ASEAN headed by an ambassador in Jakarta in the very near future. I have instructed my staff to begin consultations with the ASEAN secretariat, the Indonesian Government, and the United States Congress on the steps needed to open such a mission. As a first step, we will shortly assign an experienced diplomat to Jakarta to work with ASEAN on this effort.
Tomorrow, I will host the first ever ministerial meeting between the United States and the countries of the Lower Mekong – Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand – to discuss our shared interests and our emerging partnership on issues related to water, health, and the environment.
I would also like to announce the Obama Administration’s commitment to deepen our engagement in Asia on the critical issue of climate change. We have asked the United States Congress for a seven-fold increase in our USAID climate change funding for this region. And we are planning to launch a new regional climate change initiative to support cutting-edge research and scale up investments in innovative climate change and development solutions in Asia, especially Southeast Asia. We will ask for a high-level dialogue on climate change within ASEAN so that together, we can help the world confront the threat of a warming planet and a transition to a clean energy future.
These steps are important because Southeast Asia and ASEAN are critically important to our future. ASEAN’s ten members host nearly 600 million people, including two of our treaty allies and the world’s third-largest democracy, which just completed very successful elections in Indonesia. The region is our sixth-largest export market, hosts more U.S. business investment than China, and straddles critically important shipping lanes.
So ASEAN is a region of great diversity where people of different backgrounds, religions, and every other diversity of the human experience are working to build a community. Just this week, ASEAN agreed on the outlines of a human rights body that can help promote the values we share with many of ASEAN’s member countries, and hopefully contribute to positive change in Burma.
On a personal note, let me say how shocked and saddened I was by the vicious terrorist attacks in Indonesia last week. We stand by Indonesia in these difficult times and we celebrate their successful election and the vibrancy of their democracy. The Obama Administration is proud to embark on a sustained, comprehensive partnership with Indonesia. And it will span all aspects of our relationship – diplomatic, political, strategic, cultural and so much else. I am convinced this partnership will yield very positive results.
So these are all important steps that the United States wants to take with our ASEAN partners, and to encourage ASEAN as it moves down the path it has set for itself. I also wanted to take this opportunity to talk about my meetings with the foreign ministers of our partners in the Six-Party process. We discussed the need for a vigorous, unified, and transparent implementation of Security Council Resolution 1874. We consulted on the steps that we are taking individually and the actions that we can take in concert to enforce the financial measures, the arms embargo, the inspection provisions, and other elements in the resolution.
All four of the other foreign ministers agreed that full implementation is important to demonstrate unanimity and resolve in the face of North Korean provocations, and to make clear that complete and irreversible denuclearization is the only viable path for North Korea. We do not intend to reward North Korea just for returning to the table, nor do we intend to reward them for actions they have already committed to taking and then reneged on. The path is open to them, and it is up to them to follow it. Unless and until they do, they will face international isolation and the unrelenting pressure of global sanctions."
Read the transcript of Secretary Clinton's press availability at ASEAN.