Southeast Asia – United States: Anthony Blinken speaks to Indonesians

Following the recent ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Phnom Penh, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken intervened in Indonesia. Amidst the crisis in Taiwan, his speech confirms the importance Washington places on the region.

Excerpts from his speech

I am especially grateful for Indonesia’s support as US coordinator at this meeting and over the past few months. It is highly appreciated. And (inaudible) – for today, for tomorrow – I warmly thank our hosts, Foreign Minister Prak Sokhon, for welcoming us to Phnom Penh and for Cambodia’s leadership as ‘ASEAN’ chair this year.

Before going any further, I want to talk about recent activity regarding Taiwan because I know people are concerned about it. The United States continues to be concerned about peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. We oppose any unilateral attempt to change the status quo, including by force. We are committed to our “One China” policy, guided by our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act.

I want to stress that nothing has changed in our position and I am very confident that Beijing will not create a crisis or seek an excuse to escalate its aggressive military operations.

As with countries around the world, we believe escalation serves no one and may have unintended consequences that serve no one’s interests, including ASEAN members and China. In recent days, we have reached out to our colleagues at all levels of government in the People’s Republic of China to share this news. Maintaining cross-strait stability is in the interest of all countries in the region, including our ASEAN partners.

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This year, we are proud to celebrate 45 years of ASEAN-US relations. As we celebrate 45 years, we look to the future. As we look to the future, the United States is committed to deepening and strengthening our partnership with ASEAN to meet the challenges of the moment, challenges that affect the citizens of all our nations. We are joined at the core of ASEAN. We strongly support ASEAN’s opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region and wholeheartedly adhere to the values ​​that underpin them: openness, inclusiveness, commitment to the rule of law, good governance and – Redno, as you said – respect for international law. These values ​​are also at the heart of our own Indo-Pacific strategy. Our strategy and ASEAN’s vision are perfectly aligned in their approach.

As President Biden said at the special ASEAN-US Summit in May, we are ushering in a new era in ASEAN-US relations.

To cite some examples of our cooperation, last September US Secretary of Energy Mrs. Granholm participated in the ASEAN-US Department of Energy to deepen cooperation on common objectives such as renewable energies and emerging energy technologies.

Last May, the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Mr. Becerra participated in the ASEAN-US Ministerial Meeting on Health. We are expanding cooperation in global health and health care delivery, including improving disease surveillance, strengthening the health workforce and improving access to primary care. It will contribute to improving the situation of all our people, not only to combat the epidemics we have faced for some years, but also to strengthen our health care systems in general, for the benefit of all our citizens.

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At a special US-ASEAN summit in May, our President’s Special Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, led a discussion on working together to achieve global and regional decarbonization goals. We look forward to continuing this dialogue at the US-ASEAN Climate Action Summit in the very near future. We organized a dialogue on transport and the first ministerial meeting on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

In short, we work together on an incredibly broad range of issues that are essential to the prosperity and security of our combined billion people.

Ahead of the ASEAN-US Summit in November, we are laying the groundwork for a comprehensive strategic partnership to expand our cooperation to other areas, including maritime security, public health and cyber security. We also hope to increase cooperation with ASEAN across the region. For example, within the Quad and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (inaudible) ask for your ideas to move this type of collaboration and cooperation forward.

To guide all of these efforts, President Biden has selected his longtime top adviser, Yohannes Abraham, an exceptional public servant, to be our next ambassador to the U.S. Embassy in ASEAN. I can say from personal experience that if confirmed, he will be a great partner for ASEAN.

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