Monday March 18, 2019
Good morning everyone! Thank you for joining us today in celebrating the opening of the new U.S. Embassy building in Jakarta.
As Ambassador Donovan pointed out, we are two missions here under one new roof – the U.S. Mission to Indonesia and the U.S. Mission to ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It is our good fortune that, when the ASEAN nations were looking for a home for their Secretariat, they chose Jakarta – which is why our mission gets to share this beautiful new building with Ambassador Donovan and his team.
Since its founding in 1967, ASEAN has proved to be a powerful force for maintaining peace across Southeast Asia, accelerating economic growth, and improving the lives of the citizens of its 10 member states. Today, ASEAN is prosperous and peaceful, with a strong record of accomplishment in areas as diverse as countering transnational crime, promoting sustainable development, and managing natural disasters.
At the heart of the Indo-Pacific region, ASEAN is diplomatically, economically, and strategically central to U.S. and global prosperity in the 21st century. The United States has been ASEAN’s faithful partner for forty-two years now, and we will continue to be far into the future.
The United States first engaged with ASEAN as a dialogue partner back in 1977. We were the very first non-ASEAN country to name an Ambassador to ASEAN in 2008. In June 2010, the United States became the first non-ASEAN country to establish a dedicated Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta, located on this very spot – even if we didn’t have this wonderful building back then!
In 2015, the U.S.-ASEAN relationship was elevated to a strategic partnership, and we continue to reaffirm our commitment to this important strategic partnership – most recently just a few weeks ago, when we met with ASEAN at our 10th annual ASEAN-U.S. Joint Cooperation Committee meeting.
So, this new building is just the latest testament to the thriving partnership between the United States and ASEAN that underpins our vision of a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, one in which all nations, large and small, can prosper. It’s a vision that promotes the shared values and policies that have helped the region grow and thrive – the fundamental rights of our nations’ peoples, freedom of the seas, market economics, good governance, accountability to the public, and respect for rules-based order.
I’d like to extend my particular appreciation to Secretary General Dato’ Lim Jock Hoi, and my thanks to our ASEC colleagues and our colleagues from the national delegations to ASEAN and other Dialogue Partners, for joining us here today. And I would be remiss if I did not note that we are not the only ones welcoming the construction of a new facility. With tremendous support from Indonesia as hosts, the ASEAN Secretariat will start moving into its new home later this year, further testament to the important work underway in ASEAN.
We couldn’t be more delighted that we get to share our wonderful new home with our Mission to Indonesia colleagues. And may this new, shared home stand as a symbol of all that we share – and will continue to share – with our ASEAN colleagues as we work together toward the bright future we all see for Indonesia, for ASEAN, and for the region.