US Congress praises ASEAN’S suc­cess story

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Front Page - THE MYAN­MAR TIMES news­room@mm­times.com SEPTEM­BER 29, 2017

The US Congress passed a res­o­lu­tion on Wed­nes­day recog­nis­ing ASEAN’S achieve­ments in main­tain­ing re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity, and cel­e­brat­ing the 40th an­niver­sary of US-ASEAN re­la­tions.

THE US Congress passed a res­o­lu­tion on Wed­nes­day recog­nis­ing the 50th an­niver­sary of ASEAN and its con­tri­bu­tion to sta­bil­ity, pros­per­ity, and peace in South East Asia.

The res­o­lu­tion also marks the 40th an­niver­sary of the ASEAN-US re­la­tions and recog­nises the pos­i­tive re­sults of that en­gage­ment. It is a sig­nif­i­cant move by US law­mak­ers to strengthen ties with ASEAN un­der Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

The res­o­lu­tion was in­tro­duced by Demo­cratic Con­gress­man Joaquin Cas­tro of Texas and Repub­li­can Con­gress­woman Ann Wag­ner of Mis­souri, who co-chair the Con­gres­sional Cau­cus on ASEAN and are mem­bers of the House For­eign Af­fairs Com­mit­tee.

“As the United States and ASEAN mark 40 years of diplo­matic re­la­tions, our na­tions have an op­por­tu­nity to reaf­firm our com­mit­ment to shared goals and look for ar­eas of even greater co­op­er­a­tion,” said Rep. Cas­tro.

Dur­ing the sec­ond term of Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush (2004-2008), the US Congress be­gan to pay at­ten­tion to ASEAN due to its strate­gic value. Repub­li­can Sen. Richard Lu­gar of In­di­ana was the main force be­hind the push for closer re­la­tions with ASEAN.

To his credit, Lu­gar pro­posed the ap­point­ment of an ASEAN en­voy to the ASEAN Sec­re­tariat in Jakarta in 2010, mak­ing the US the group’s first di­a­logue part­ner to do this.

“Con­gress­woman Ann Wag­ner... and I in­tro­duced this res­o­lu­tion to recog­nise this land­mark year and the im­por­tance of the United States’ strate­gic re­la­tion­ship with ASEAN mem­ber states. From strength­en­ing re­gional se­cu­rity and grow­ing the US-ASEAN eco­nomic part­ner­ship, to pro­mot­ing hu­man rights and safe­guard­ing South East Asian mar­itime pas­sage­ways, there are nu­mer­ous high-pri­or­ity ar­eas in which the United States and ASEAN col­lab­o­ra­tion will yield greater suc­cesses than if our na­tions op­er­ate in­de­pen­dently. I’m very pleased the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives passed this mea­sure, and I look for­ward to the Con­gres­sional Cau­cus on ASEAN’S con­tin­ued work to en­hance US-ASEAN en­gage­ment,” the con­gress­man said in a state­ment.

Among its pro­vi­sions, the res­o­lu­tion reaf­firms the el­e­va­tion of the United STATES-ASEAN re­la­tion­ship to a strate­gic part­ner­ship and the en­hance­ment of US-ASEAN eco­nomic en­gage­ment; recog­nises the value of ASEAN work­ing with eco­nomic, po­lit­i­cal, and se­cu­rity part­ners both in­side of and out­side of Asia; sup­ports ef­forts by ASEAN mem­ber states to ad­dress mar­itime and ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes in a con­struc­tive man­ner to pro­mote peace and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion; and en­cour­ages Pres­i­dent Trump to com­mu­ni­cate to ASEAN lead­ers the im­por­tance of pro­tect­ing hu­man rights.

“I am thrilled that the House has passed H.res.311,” said Rep. Wag­ner, adding, “We in­tend for this res­o­lu­tion to raise aware­ness within and out­side of Congress about South East Asia’s crit­i­cal role in the global or­der. Con­gress­man Cas­tro and I founded the Con­gres­sional Cau­cus on ASEAN to ac­knowl­edge that America must be the fore­most trade and de­fence part­ner for ASEAN coun­tries.

“This res­o­lu­tion af­firms the crit­i­cal US strate­gic part­ner­ship with ASEAN and seeks to ad­vance our eco­nomic en­gage­ment with the re­gion. The US is also com­mit­ted to part­ner­ing with ASEAN to halt hu­man smug­gling and hu­man traf­fick­ing, and im­prove as­sis­tance to refugees and mi­grants. I look for­ward to work­ing with our ASEAN peers to make the next 40 years of USASEAN en­gage­ment even more fruit­ful than the first 40 years.”

ASEAN ranks fourth, after Canada, Mexico and China, as a mar­ket for US ex­ports and the US is the group’s fourth-largest trad­ing part­ner. The US ex­ported US$75 bil­lion (K102.2 tril­lion) in goods and $27 bil­lion in ser­vices to ASEAN in 2016, an in­crease of 81 per­cent since 2004.

Trump is sched­uled to at­tend the 12th East Asia Sum­mit in Novem­ber at Clark Air­base in the Philip­pines and meet with the lead­ers of ASEAN, China, Ja­pan, South Korea, In­dia, Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

Al­most 42,000 com­pa­nies across the US ex­port to ASEAN, cre­at­ing al­most 550,000 jobs for US work­ers, ac­cord­ing to 2015 es­ti­mates. Eigh­teen states have more than 10,000 jobs that rely on ex­ports to ASEAN.

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