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2 November 2009

US committed to closer ties with Asean

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The United States is committed to long-term engagement with Asean despite a plethora of geopolitical challenges demanding its attention elsewhere, Singapore’s Straits Times quoted a senior US diplomat a saying.

In an interview ahead of this month's inaugural US-Asean Summit in Singapore, US envoy for Asean affairs Scot Marciel said Washington would like to work more closely with Asean on a range of global as well as regional issues, such as climate change, disaster relief, and economic integration.

“It's a very positive agenda,” said Ambassador Marciel, who is also a deputy assistant secretary in the State Department.

Since taking office earlier this year, President Barack Obama and top US diplomat Hillary Clinton have made plain their desire to step up their engagement with Asia, including the 10 member countries of Asean.

But with the immediate geopolitical challenges confronting the US - Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq - largely unchanged, would its engagement with Asean become relegated to a form of 'drive-by diplomacy'?

Washington, said Marciel in response, has already gone beyond the rhetoric and demonstrated its commitment with action.


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