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"The United States must
have strong relationships and a strong and productive presence here in
Southeast Asia," said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Secretary
Clinton made the remarks in Phuket, Thailand, where she signed the United States
instrument of Accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast
Asia. At the same time, the ten foreign ministers of the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, signed an Instrument of Extension of the
Among other things, parties to the treaty pledge to promote perpetual peace and
everlasting amity among their peoples, and to cooperate in economic, social,
cultural, technical and scientific fields.
During her visit to the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta in February of this year,
Secretary Clinton announced that the administration of President Barack Obama
would pursue accession to the treaty. The speed at which the United States
worked together with ASEAN members to realize U.S. accession to the treaty,
highlights America's re-energized involvement in Southeast Asia, as well as the
close mutual ties sought by ASEAN and the United States. U.S. accession is a
symbol of U.S. desire to engage more deeply and effectively with ASEAN on
regional and global priorities.
The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia was signed by the
original members of ASEAN in 1976. All ASEAN members have since become parties
to the Treaty. In 1987, ASEAN amended the treaty to invite countries outside of
Southeast Asia to accede to the treaty, reflecting ASEAN's stated desire to
further enhance cooperation with all peace-loving nations, both within and
outside Southeast Asia.
In a joint press conference in Bangkok with Deputy Prime Minister Korbsak Sabhavasu,
Secretary Clinton said that the U.S. accession to the Treaty "is a very
strong statement on behalf of our administration that the United States intends
to be a very active presence in the region bilaterally, as with a friend and
ally like Thailand, and multilaterally through organizations like ASEAN."