ASEAN Welcomes US Renewed Engagement with the Region
ASEAN Secretariat, 3 March 2010
The United States, which has been sending signals that the world landscape has changed, recognises ASEAN centrality in the regional architecture and is now keenly re-engaging with the region. Addressing a 25-member delegation from the US-based Chicago Council on Global Affairs today, the Secretary-General of ASEAN said that Washington’s emphasis on Southeast Asia is clear with President Obama’s interest in the region. The fact that the first overseas trip of the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton upon taking office was a trip to Asia, which included a visit to the ASEAN Secretariat in February 2009, was clear evidence of this renewed engagement, said Dr Surin Pitsuwan.
“These are Washington’s new signals to the world that make the renewed engagement of the US with the region an exciting time for all,” said Dr Surin, adding that ASEAN welcomed the US position vis-à-vis the region. He was speaking at a luncheon meeting for the delegation who were in Jakarta on a Leadership Study Mission to gain a deeper understanding of the region’s economic, political, and social trends and relations with the US.
The Secretary-General also briefed the delegation on ASEAN’s role in the evolution of the region. “ASEAN Member States come from tremendously diverse political, economic and social background, so understandably when they converge, some challenges are only natural – yet ASEAN is strong enough to be able to link the strong peripheries to work together,” he added.
The delegation comprised members of the Council’s Board of Directors and other leaders in all spheres of life in Chicago: business, philanthropy, education, and civic endeavour, and was led by Mr Lester Crown and Mr Marshall Bouton, Chairman and President of the Council respectively. The Leadership Study Mission includes visits to Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore and Viet Nam, to meet with senior government leaders, receive briefings by prominent experts on key trends and issues and engage in discussions with senior business and civic figures.
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, founded in 1922 as The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, is a leading independent, nonpartisan organisation committed to influencing the discourse on global issues through contributions to opinion and policy formation, leadership dialogue and public learning.