Trump Turns Focus to ASEAN
US President Donald Trump will attend three summits in Asia in November, Vice President Mike Pence said in Jakarta during a visit to the headquarters of Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Thursday.
Pence said after meeting the secretary general of Association of Southeast Asian Nations that Trump would attend the US-ASEAN summit and the East Asia summit in the Philippines, as well as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam.
He said the Trump administration would work with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on security issues and trade and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. China claims most of the South China Sea, but has overlapping claims with a number of Southeast Asian countries.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence reaffirmed the U.S.’ continued commitment to strengthen and deepen its strategic partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations during his historic visit to the Secretariat today where he met Secretary-General Le Luong Minh.
He described ASEAN as a “historic institution” that ensures the security of the region and acknowledged its success in promoting the quality of life and the prosperity of its people.
“It has been a strategic partnership and we are committed to continuing to build in that spirit,” said Vice President Pence.
In highlighting the importance of ASEAN-U.S. Strategic Partnership, Vice President Pence announced that the U.S. President Donald Trump will participate in the 5th ASEAN-U.S. Summit and the 12th East Asia Summit (EAS) to be held in the Philippines and the 25th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Viet Nam in November 2017.
Secretary-General Minh underscored the longstanding and multifaceted relations between ASEAN and the U.S. He further highlighted the upward trajectory of the ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue Relations over the past years as manifested in the elevation of the relationship to strategic level in 2015. In their discussions, both sides acknowledged the importance of this year as it marks the 40th anniversary of ASEAN-U.S.
Secretary-General Minh conveyed that U.S.’ continued support for ASEAN Centrality and its participation in the key regional strategic mechanisms such as the East Asia Summit, the Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting-Plus remain crucial for regional peace, security and stability. He expressed optimism that ASEAN-U.S. relations will further deepen including through the expansion of trade and investment ties. Secretary General Minh also expressed appreciation for the technical assistance provided by the U.S. through mutually beneficial cooperation projects and programmes over the years, noting that these have contributed significantly to the community building efforts.
Vice President Pence is the highest ranking U.S. official to visit the Secretariat. As part of this visit, the Vice President also met with the Permanent Representatives of the Member States and members of the Young Southeast Asia Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), a key U.S. initiative in strengthening people-to-people ties among the youth in the region.
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