WASHINGTON: On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday wished all ASEAN citizens in Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam-a wonderful ASEAN Day.
In a press statement, Kerry said: “Southeast Asia is one of the fastest-growing, most dynamic regions in the world. The region succeeds because its countries work together. Saturday is the 48th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the organization at the centre of the Asia-Pacific region’s integration.”
The US Secretary of State said ASEAN has helped keep the peace in Southeast Asia and lowered barriers to travel and trade, supporting the region’s economies in taking off. That growth has lifted millions of people out of poverty and has allowed many more achieve their dreams.
“This organization has brought together 10 very diverse countries with a combined population of over 600 million people. Under the motto of “One Vision, One Identity, One Community,” ASEAN has drawn strength from its diversity and established a sense of shared purpose.”
Increasingly, ASEAN is the hub of the larger Asia-Pacific region, hosting leaders from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific to address the most complex and challenging issues of the day. This work is vital to the region, to the United States, and to the world.
“The United States is committed to ASEAN. Our fates are intertwined economically, culturally, and strategically. We have been partners for almost forty years in helping to realize our shared vision for Southeast Asia, and the broader Asia-Pacific, as a peaceful, integrated, stable, and prosperous region that respects the rule of law and brings dignity to all its citizens. We upgraded our relations under President Obama, and we continue to support the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community this year. The United States looks forward to many more years of partnership with a strong, capable ASEAN, to make Southeast Asia, and the world, a better place,” Kerry concluded.