Washington — The United States is continuing its “sustained, all-out effort to build an enduring, multifaceted relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pledged September 28.
Speaking at the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the sidelines of the 67th annual United Nations General Assembly in New York, Clinton said U.S. engagement with the association is part of a broader effort to deepen the country’s commitment to the Asia-Pacific region.
“We want to work with all of you to build a stable and just regional order that will benefit every nation,” the secretary said. “That means supporting mature and effective institutions that can mobilize common action and settle disputes easily.”
She said the United States is also committed to crafting regional rules and norms that safeguard universal rights and help manage relations between people, markets and nations, as well as establishing security arrangements that provide stability and build trust.
“Our relationship with ASEAN is at the heart of all these efforts, including our participation in the East Asia Summit,” Clinton said. “The United States supports the East Asia Summit as the Asia-Pacific’s premier institution for political and strategic issues, and we believe it is the capstone of increasingly mature and effective regional architecture.”
She commended the East Asia Summit for making progress across a range of issues, including energy and education, and called on leaders to stay focused on pursuing a clear agenda during the November leaders' meeting.
President Obama’s administration has called for three items to head this year’s agenda: disaster relief, nonproliferation and maritime security.
Additionally, Clinton said, the United States plans to bring up the issue of wildlife trafficking during the November talks.
“We hope to focus our EAS partners on the challenge of wildlife trafficking and the related issues of protecting biodiversity and preventing the emergence of pandemic diseases,” she said. “The illegal trade in protected and endangered species is now estimated between $7 [billion] and $10 billion a year.”
The secretary said wildlife trafficking is increasingly intertwined with other illicit activities that undermine regional security and prosperity, including organized crime. The United States, she said, is ready to work with its ASEAN partners to develop an initiative to stop poachers.
The 21st ASEAN Summit and the 7th East Asia Summit are scheduled to be held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, November 18 to 20.