Ladies and gentlemen,
I believe I speak for all ASEAN member countries when I say that the U.S. is a valued partner of ASEAN. The time is ripe to look to the future, especially in the context of ASEAN’s commitment to establish the ASEAN community by 2020. I would therefore like to offer some views on the way forward for ASEAN-us relations. Following are some ideas, which I hope will receive further consideration and discussion by all concerned. They are:
- Promote better understanding of the ‘ASEAN way’ of conducting regional cooperation and diplomacy;
- Match the priorities between ASEAN and the united states;
- Accede to the treaty of amity and cooperation in Southeast Asia;
- Increase the frequency of ASEAN-us dialogue sessions which now meets only once every 18 months;
- Give equal emphasis to all sectors of cooperation;
- Enhance the level of economic cooperation between the U.S. and ASEAN, including instituting a regional trade and investment framework agreement with ASEAN as a group;
- Expand the ASEAN cooperation plan (ACP) to include more cultural and people-to-people exchanges;
- Contribute to the newly established ASEAN development fund (ADF), which supports the implementation of regional integration activities and the narrowing of development gaps among ASEAN members. This will particularly benefit the newer members of ASEAN. Contributions are also welcomed from the private sector, foundations and organizations;
- Encourage greater exchange of visits including at the level of ministers, businessmen, academicians, students and the members of the media;
- Create public awareness on ASEAN-us relations through the use of the mass media, such as showing programmes or documentaries on U.S. television;
- Last but not least, encourage links with the ASEAN foundation that was established specifically for the purpose of creating awareness of ASEAN especially via social exchange programmes.
Ms. Desai, president of the Asia Society, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your attention.