Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thayer US-ASEAN 2nd Leadership Meeting


Carlyle Alan Thayer published:Thayer US-ASEAN 2nd Leadership Meeting
A brief analysis of the likely agenda for the 2nd ASEAN-US leaders meeting to be held in New York in September 2010. by carlthayer in History and Research…

Background Brief:
US‐ASEAN 2nd Leaders Meeting
Carlyle A. Thayer

September 4, 2010

What is your assessment about American President Obama holding a meeting with
ASEAN leaders, including Vietnam, in New York on September 24? Will it discuss the
situation in the South China Sea? What how you think China will react to such event?
ANSWER: President Obama's meeting with the ASEAN heads of government/state
will be the second leadership summit. The first was held last year in Singapore. This
is a normal part of the process ASEAN has developed with its major dialogue
partners. It is not aimed at China and China can hardly object to such a meeting
because it regularly meets with ASEAN leaders. China and ASEAN have a strategic
partnership which has been upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
The US‐ASEAN leaders meeting covered a wide range of issues in 2009 and these are
expected to feature again in 2010. Among the major issues are: the ASEAN‐US
dialogue relationship, educational exchanges, science and technology cooperation,
development of the regional architecture, the ASEAN human rights commission,
ASEAN connectivity, the situation in Myanmar, the global economic and financial
crisis, trade and investment issues, international terrorism, transnational crime,
Lower Mekong initiative, non‐proliferation and disarmament, the Korean peninsula,
climate change, clean energy, food security, disaster relief and cooperation on
infectious diseases.

The 2nd US‐ASEAN leadership summit may touch on maritime security, including the
South China Sea, but this will not be its major focus. The 2009 leadership summit
discussed the forthcoming meeting of the ASEAN Defence Ministers Plus Eight
meeting to be held in Hanoi on 12th October.

The US‐ASEAN leaders meeting will be held in New York on the sidelines of the
United Nations General Assembly. I support those in the United States who argue
that the leadership meeting should have been held at The White House in
Washington, D.C. This would have been a strong symbol of U.S. support for ASEAN.

The U.S. should also use the occasion of the 2nd leadership meeting to announce its
nomination of a resident ambassador to ASEAN. This post is vacant because the
previous ambassador to ASEAN. Scot Marciel, has been appointed US ambassador to


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