Today, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hosted the Foreign Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the Department of State for a special U.S.-ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting. The event commemorated the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and ASEAN, and reinforced our strategic partnership. The meeting followed the 30th ASEAN-U.S. Strategic Dialogue, at which senior officials discussed cooperation on political, security, and economic issues.
For the last 40 years, the United States has partnered with ASEAN and its member states on a political, security, and economic agenda. We also have a shared commitment to advancing peace, security, and prosperity in Southeast Asia.
In his remarks to the Foreign Ministers, Secretary Tillerson reinforced the close ties between the United States and ASEAN underscoring that the Asia-Pacific region is a top priority under the Trump Administration, and that ASEAN is an essential partner as highlighted in Vice President Pence’s recent visit to the region.
Focusing on traditional areas of U.S.-ASEAN strategic partnership, Secretary Tillerson and ASEAN Foreign Ministers discussed the grave threat North Korea’s nuclear tests and missile launches pose to regional stability and recognized the need to fully implement all relevant UN Security Council resolutions. Additionally, the Ministers reaffirmed their adherence to a rules-based order in the Asia-Pacific and stressed the need for ASEAN Member States and China to ensure full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety.
The group of foreign ministers also addressed economic partnership and the desire for increased economic engagement with ASEAN through U.S.-ASEAN Connect, the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, and the ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment program.
During today’s meetings, Secretary Tillerson indicated his plans to travel to the ASEAN Regional Forum, East Asia Summit Ministerial, and U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial meetings in the Philippines in August as part of the continued engagement and preparation ahead of President Donald Trump’s travel to the region for the East Asia Summit and U.S.-ASEAN Summit in November.
About the Author: David Greene serves as the Director of the Office of Multilateral Affairs in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
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