Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David R. Stilwell represented the United States at the 27th Annual ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) held virtually on July 21, 2020. Assistant Secretary Stilwell commended the ASEAN Chair, Vietnam, for exemplifying resilience and perseverance during a challenging chair year affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic and reinforced the U.S. commitment to supporting human capital development and economic recovery in ASEAN.
Highlighting ASEAN’s role at the heart of the U.S. vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, Assistant Secretary Stilwell stressed the importance of upholding the integrity of regional security architecture, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum, to promote transparency through cooperation and dialogue.
The Assistant Secretary also highlighted the ongoing U.S. commitment to supporting a meaningful Code of Conduct on the South China Sea and achieving the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea, and called for the safe, voluntary, dignified, and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees and for the government of Burma to bring those responsible for atrocities to justice.
In his closing remarks, Assistant Secretary Stilwell reiterated the U.S. commitment to finding collaboration opportunities with allies and partners to align priorities and achieve shared goals enabled by ASEAN Regional Forum leadership.