Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton Addresses the U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
July 11, 2012
Secretary Clinton Shakes Hands With Philippines' Foreign Affairs Secretary Before U.S.-ASEAN Meeting

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On July 11, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks at the U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This marked Secretary Clinton's fourth U.S.-ASEAN post-ministerial conference.

Secretary Clinton said, "The United States has an enduring commitment to the Asia Pacific and the Obama Administration has elevated our engagement across Asia as a strategic priority of our foreign policy. A central pillar of that strategy is to work more closely with ASEAN, to deepen our economic, strategic, and people-to-people engagement. As Secretary of State, I've been a strong supporter of ASEAN and I understand that ASEAN faces a variety of challenges and even growing pains as it adapts and takes on new responsibilities. But I believe ASEAN plays an indispensible role in holding this region's institutional architecture together and in advancing the common interests of all stakeholders in the Asia Pacific. The work that we are doing here today and over the next two days is a testament to that, and the United States has a stake in ASEAN's success. The positions that ASEAN takes, the decisions it makes, and how it makes them will have a great bearing on the future effectiveness of ASEAN.

"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. We have more investment in ASEAN than we have in China. That is a surprising fact to many people in our country. And we are working cooperatively and collaboratively on opportunities and challenges in the Asia Pacific region, because we believe, like all of you, that so much of the future will be determined in this region."

Secretary Clinton continued, "We are focused on six pillars: 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. 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."

In closing, the Secretary said, "The United States is committed to our partnership, and we welcome the contributions of other ASEAN dialogue partners, and we are invested in the future peace, stability, and prosperity of this region. We look forward to many more collaborative activities with our partners in ASEAN for years to come. "Related Content: Photos of Secretary Clinton in Cambodia and Fact Sheet on United States-ASEAN Cooperation 2012



Ashim C.
July 12, 2012

Ashim C. in India writes:

It is good to see Ms. Clinton emphasising the importance of ASEAN and increasing engagement of US in Asia. It would be good if US also takes similar interest in SAARC and integration between ASEAN and SAARC.

India has massive infrastructure development projects. If they are pushed, US expertise can be utilised through some of the ASEAN countries would be handy for India.

Only thing is no foreign investor from anywhere should not insist on econonomic cooperation at macro and micro level through private sector players alone.

US business must appreciate that given the state of multi-party democracy of India, where most political parties do not take kindly to foreign investments in sensitive areas like banking , insurance and finance through collaborations with private sector, a better strategy would be to push collaboration with state owned public sector companies, which have even now an overwhelming share in all basic industries and service sector.

Policy makers looking at India as an investment destination need to understand Indian political situation to understand how they can circumvent objections to FDI in all sectors across the board by avialing opportunities in India by choosing a collaboration model that strenghens Indian state owned public sector in power generation and distribution, IT and communication, mass public transport systems and infrastructure, road, air and port infrastructure, health hospitality, housing and education sector. Given the backwardness level in these and many other sectors, business in these sector is there to sustain for easily next 30 years or more. And if the entry strategy is based on collaboration with public sector companies, the business also gets the benefit of sovereign guarantees that mitigates all business risks.

US can achieve 4-5% growth rate if it focusses on ASEAN and SAARC simultaneously. This will also reduce the dependence on China substantially. This China dependence for trade & commerce has in one's view brought about many aberrations in the way it conducts it's relations with China.


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