Tuesday, September 28, 2010
US to Send Envoy to ASEAN, Participate in EAS 2011 and Support Human Rights
The 2nd ASEAN-US Leaders' Meeting, which was held in New York on 24 September, has concluded with the undertaking of several key decisions which will enhance ASEAN-US relations on various issues of mutual interests. This year’s Leaders’ Meeting has given the hope of a stronger cross-sectoral relationship and sets the agenda for a more intense ‘win-win’ cooperation to be pursued within the next few years.
At the Meeting, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, confirmed that the United States will participate in the 6th East Asia Summit which will be held in Indonesia next year. During the announcement, he also underscored the US’ commitment to continue its support to ASEAN Centrality and the regional architecture and cemented ASEAN’s role as being one that is global and critical beyond borders.
In recognition of the US’ firm commitment to continue to strengthen comprehensive relations with ASEAN, the country will also soon appoint and deploy its first resident US Ambassador to ASEAN, to be based in Jakarta.
The US also confirmed its support for the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and offered to support the Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) through capacity building programmes. AICHR will undertake study tours to the US later this year and the ACWC is planning for a similar trip next year.
The President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, H.E. Nguyen Minh Triet, who co-chaired the Meeting in his capacity as current Chair of ASEAN, said that the relations between ASEAN and the US has progressed since the first Meeting which was held in November last year in Singapore. He expressed ASEAN’s confidence that the current Meeting will elevate ASEAN-US relations to become more comprehensive and include more substance for peace, stability and development in the ASEAN region.
President Obama also reconfirmed the commitments the US made at last year’s Leaders’ Meeting, that the US will continue to support ASEAN in ways that will help to create a more effective and integrated ASEAN Community by 2015, including sustaining balanced economic growth. He said the US has its interests in the peoples and future of ASEAN. Currently, ASEAN is home to some of the world’s largest trading partners and the fifth largest export market for the US -- all of which create millions of economic opportunities for the Americans.
On a personal note, he acknowledged that his personal ties with the region have helped reinforce his views about the abundance of potentials of the region.
At the Meeting, the Leaders further agreed to identify priority practical areas of cooperation such as education, human resource development, trade and investment in the coming years. In order to develop concrete and practical recommendations by 2011 to elevate ASEAN-US partnership to a higher level, the Meeting also adopted the Terms of Reference to be tasked to the ASEAN-US Eminent Persons Group.
The Meeting also agreed to intensify efforts to advance new initiatives under the ASEAN-US Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (ASEAN-US TIFA).
Earlier in the morning, the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) and the US Chamber of Commerce held an ASEAN Leaders Summit Breakfast in honour of the ASEAN Leaders and Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, who also attended the Leaders’ Meeting. The Breakfast hosted talks and interactions between the ASEAN Leaders and the US business communities. The event, organised for the benefit of the business people, provided a platform for them to exchange views as well as find solutions to boost trade and investment relationships and eventually contribute to the increase of economic activities between and economic growth of ASEAN and the US.