Trump urges ASEAN not to be ‘satel­lites’ of any­one

Dur­ing a frank and no-holds-barred dis­cus­sion with the lead­ers of ASEAN in Manila on Mon­day, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump urged the re­gion’s coun­tries not to be­come “satel­lites” to any­one.

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page -

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Mon­day called for closer ties with South East Asia and urged ASEAN lead­ers not to be­come “satel­lites” to any­one, in a veiled cau­tion against China’s grow­ing clout in the re­gion.

“We want our part­ners in the re­gion to be strong, in­de­pen­dent, and pros­per­ous, in con­trol of their own des­tinies, and satel­lites to no one,” Trump said at the 5th ASEAN-US sum­mit with the ASEAN lead­ers in Manila as he vowed to pro­mote his vi­sion for “a free and open Indo-Pa­cific re­gion.”

Hail­ing the 40th an­niver­sary this year of US-ASEAN re­la­tions, Trump said his ad­min­is­tra­tion “re­mains com­mit­ted to ASEAN’s cen­tral role as a re­gional fo­rum for to­tal co­op­er­a­tion.”

“This diplo­matic part­ner­ship ad­vances the se­cu­rity and pros­per­ity of the Amer­i­can peo­ple and the peo­ple of all Indo-Pa­cific na­tions,” he said.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, Trump and the 10 ASEAN lead­ers dis­cussed the ris­ing nu­clear threat from North Korea and China’s as­sertive ter­ri­to­rial claims and land recla­ma­tion ef­forts in the South China Sea.

For five decades, Trump added, this or­gan­i­sa­tion has brought to­gether a vi­tal as­sem­bly of na­tions to build con­sen­sus on crit­i­cal is­sues fac­ing the re­gion and the world. “You have cre­ated a fo­rum for all na­tions with a stake in the Indo-Pa­cific to lis­ten, learn, and de­velop so­lu­tions to com­mon chal­lenges through strate­gic di­a­logue,” he said.

Trump said that this diplo­matic part­ner­ship ad­vances the se­cu­rity and pros­per­ity of the Amer­i­can peo­ple and the peo­ple of all Indo-Pa­cific na­tions.

The US was awarded a strate­gic part­ner­ship last year, join­ing China, Ja­pan, South Korea, New Zealand, Aus­tralia and In­dia.

Last Fe­bru­ary, Trump’s pre­de­ces­sor Barack Obama in­vited all ASEAN lead­ers to at­tend a spe­cial sum­mit meet­ing at Sun­ny­lands, Cal­i­for­nia. They is­sued the Sun­ny­lands Dec­la­ra­tion, which has been the foun­da­tion of their re­la­tions.

In the chair­man’s state­ment is­sued af­ter the meet­ing, the two sides “ex­pressed grave con­cern about the un­prece­dented num­ber of nu­clear and bal­lis­tic mis­sile tests” North Korea con­ducted last year in vi­o­la­tion of UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions ban­ning it from con­duct­ing nu­clear and mis­sile ac­tiv­i­ties.

US and ASEAN lead­ers crit­i­cised Py­ongyang’s “dis­re­gard for in­ter­na­tional law,” say­ing it calls into ques­tion “the coun­try’s sin­cer­ity in hav­ing mean­ing­ful di­a­logue on the real is­sues fac­ing the Korean Penin­sula,” said the draft, a copy of which was ob­tained by Ky­odo News.

Ear­lier Mon­day, Trump had a meet­ing with Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull, ap­par­ently fo­cus­ing on North Korea, the South China Sea and the Indo-Pa­cific.

He also met with Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte, whose coun­try holds ASEAN’s ro­tat­ing chair­man­ship this year, and was slated to have talks with In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi.

Trump and his Indo-Pa­cific coun­ter­parts are in the Philip­pine cap­i­tal for a se­ries of ASEAN-re­lated sum­mit meet­ings that be­gan Mon­day.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cam­bo­dia, In­done­sia, Laos, Malaysia, Myan­mar, the Philip­pines, Sin­ga­pore, Thai­land and Viet­nam.

The Philip­pines is the last leg of Trump’s Asian tour.

Photo: EPA

From left: Malaysian Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak, New Zealand’s Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern, Myan­mar State Coun­sel­lor and For­eign Min­is­ter Aung San Suu Kyi, Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe, Thai Prime Min­is­ter Prayut Chan-ocha, Rus­sian Prime Min­is­ter Dmitry Medvedev, Viet­namese Prime Min­is­ter Nguyen Xuan Phuc, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte, Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull, and Sin­ga­pore Prime Min­is­ter Lee Hsien Loong pose for a pic­ture at the 31st ASEAN Sum­mit in Manila, Philip­pines,on Mon­day.

Photo: AP

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ges­tures dur­ing the ASEAN US 40th an­niver­sary com­mem­o­ra­tive sum­mit in Manila on Mon­day.

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