Underlining the importance of U.S. engagement with ASEAN, U.S. Secretary of State Honourable John Kerry today paid a courtesy call on Secretary-General of ASEAN, H.E. Le Luong Minh.
Secretary Kerry visited ASEAN Headquarters in Jakarta where he engaged Secretary-General Minh and other senior ASEAN Secretariat officials in discussions on U.S.-ASEAN relations and other regional issues of mutual interests and concern.
Secretary-General Minh welcomed Secretary Kerry and expressed appreciation to the U.S. for its continued support for ASEAN Community building efforts as well as ASEAN’s centrality and unity. Citing the U.S. as one of the most important major partners of ASEAN, Secretary-General Minh stressed that the support and assistance by the U.S. has effectively complemented ASEAN’s efforts to achieve the target of establishing an ASEAN Community by 2015.
Placing ASEAN at the core of U.S. rebalancing strategy in the region, Secretary Kerry reiterated U.S. current policy toward Southeast Asia and its commitment to enhance cooperation with ASEAN in the fields of trade and investment, education, narrowing the development gaps, climate change and disaster management, connectivity, and support for Myanmar’s chairmanship of ASEAN. Secretary Kerry also informed Secretary-General Minh that President Obama is looking forward to attending the Second ASEAN-U.S. Summit later this year in Myanmar.
Secretary-General Minh and Secretary Kerry exchanged views on issues of regional and international concern, including the issue of the South China Sea, where, in the context of complicated developments taking place, while emphasizing the need for respect for international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), they reaffirmed the importance of ASEAN’s Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea, the urgency of early conclusion of a Code of Conduct (COC) and the importance of exercising self-restraint.
The U.S. Secretary of State was in Jakarta as part of his Asian tour to meet with senior government officials and address a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues relevant to U.S. enhanced engagement in the Asia-Pacific region. Last year, he attended the First ASEAN-US Summit in Brunei Darussalam representing President Barack Obama.
See pictures from the event here.