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Clinton says Asean central to Obama's Asia strategy

Publication Date : 12-07-2012


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) was central to the Obama administration's elevated engagement in Asia.

"A central pillar of that strategy is to work more closely with Asean, to deepen our economic, strategic, and people-to-people engagement," she told Asean foreign ministers. 

"Asean plays an indispensible role in holding this region’s institutional architecture together and in advancing the common interests of all stakeholders in the Asia Pacific."

Clinton said America had "a stake in Asean’s success", noting that "we have more investment in Asean than we have in China", a fact which was "surprising" to most Americans.

But "there is much more room for us still to grow together," she said, pointing to the largest ever US business delegation to Cambodia which will accompany her to Siem Reap on Friday for the first US-Asean Business Forum.
Regarding development assistance, Clinton pointed to the Asia Pacific Strategic Engagement Initiative (APSEI) which "seeks to align our resources with the priorities we are pursuing in partnership with the countries around this table.

"We are focused on six pillars: regional security cooperation, economic integration and trade, engagement in the Lower Mekong region, transnational threats, democratic development, and war legacies," she said. 

"Later this week here at Asean and at the Regional Forum, I will offer a down payment on APSEI, and in the coming months we’ll be able to talk more about this initiative," she said.


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