U.S. Engagement with ASEAN
The United States began engagement with ASEAN as a dialogue partner in 1977, and has actively maintained cooperation with ASEAN ever since. Starting in the early 1990s, development cooperation has increased dramatically through the launch of economic programs focusing on trade and investment, technology transfer, and education.
Recently, the U.S. and ASEAN have redoubled engagement on many issues. Political and security discussions have focused on the role of the United States in maintaining peace and stability in the region, nuclear non-proliferation, regional security issues, and the Korean Peninsula. Economic engagement has seen the successful establishment of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. U.S.-ASEAN development cooperation has also focused on capacity building efforts in technology, education, disaster management, food security, human rights, and trade facilitation.
The United States was the very first non-ASEAN country to name an Ambassador to ASEAN with the appointment of Ambassador Scot Marciel (now the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia) to that position in 2008. In 2009, President Barack Obama called for the establishment of a permanent U.S. Mission to ASEAN. In June 2010, the United States became the first non-ASEAN country to establish a dedicated Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta. Ambassador David L. Carden, who was sworn in as the United States’ first resident Ambassador to ASEAN in late March 2011, officially assumed his duty on April 26, 2011 after presenting his credentials to ASEAN Secretary-General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan.
In late 2012, President Obama attended his fourth consecutive US-ASEAN Leaders' Meeting. Earlier the same year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became the highest ranking U.S. government official to have visited all 10 ASEAN countries.