93/07/26 Statement at the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference (Singapore)  Return to: Index of 1993 Secretary of State's Speeches/Testimonies || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

Note: This Electronic Research Collection is an archive site. For the most current information, please visit the State Department homepage.
U.S. Department of State
93/07/26 Statement at the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference
Office of the Spokesman

Secretary Christopher
The United States:  A Full Partner In a New Pacific Community

Statement at the Six-plus-Seven Open Session of the ASEAN Post-
Ministerial Conference, Singapore, July 26, 1993.

It is an honor for me to represent the United States at ASEAN's Post- 
Ministerial Conference (PMC).  During his trip to Asia earlier this 
month, President Clinton committed the United States to working with the 
nations of Asia to create "a New Pacific Community," built on shared 
strength, shared prosperity, and a shared commitment to democratic 
values.  The ASEAN nations--and this Post-Ministerial forum--have a 
vital role to play in developing the vision of a New Pacific Community.

Today I'd like to share with you my thoughts on the challenges we face 
together in three areas--security, economics, and democracy.  I'd also 
like to explore with you ways in which we can act together to 
successfully address the global, regional, and national dimensions of 
these challenges.

As the President said at the Korean National Assembly, "We must always 
remember that security comes first."  Let me be clear:  the United 
States will remain actively engaged in Asia.  America is and will remain 
an Asia-Pacific power.  We will abide by our solemn treaty obligations, 
continue our forward military presence, and work with the nations of the 
region to maintain a peaceful and secure Asia.  We will do so because it 
is in the interest of the United States and its Asian partners.

At the top of the security agenda is the need for strong international 
efforts to combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction and their 
means of delivery.

First and foremost, the United States is committed to tough and 
effective global rules to halt the spread of nuclear weapons.  That is 
why President Clinton made the decision to continue our nuclear testing 
moratorium through September 1994 so long as other nations refrain from 
further tests.  That is why the United States is firmly committed to 
negotiating a multilateral, comprehensive test ban treaty.  And that is 
why we will vigorously pursue the indefinite extension of the Non-
Proliferation Treaty in 1995.

North Korea's adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and its full 
compliance with its IAEA safeguards obligations and the North-South 
Denuclearization Declaration are essential.  The United States is 
determined to see a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula.  As you know, we have 
been engaged in intensive discussions with North Korea aimed at bringing 
it back within the fold of nuclear responsibility.  The latest talks in 
Geneva marked three further steps toward resolving these issues:  North 
Korea will begin consultations with the IAEA on outstanding safeguards 
issues; North Korea committed to discuss nuclear and other issues with 
South Korea; and North Korea announced its willingness to convert to 
reactors that are far less suitable for nuclear weapon material 
production.  We are determined to make steady progress toward a solution 
to the nuclear problem and will continue our dialogue with North Korea 
as long as it is productive.  Our vigilance will not cease short of 
North Korea's full compliance with its obligations.

A second major challenge is the proliferation of chemical and biological 
weapons of mass destruction and the missiles that can deliver them.  
This is a growing problem for Asia because economic and technological 
development means the region can now produce chemicals, sophisticated 
electronics, and other products and services that the proliferators want 
but are now denied in Europe and the United States.  Asia is at the 
stage when its participation in international agreements and 
establishment of export-control regimes are most important.  In the near 
future, the United States will launch new efforts to achieve these 
goals.  We look forward to working in concert with all of you.

Another security challenge we face together is the need to respond to 
conflicts around the globe through collective engagement.  This 
challenge of peace-keeping--in places such as Bosnia, Somalia, and 
Cambodia--requires a global response, and the nations of Asia and the 
Pacific have a vital part to play.

ASEAN has made especially valuable contributions to regional peace.  
Since its founding in 1967, ASEAN has been a force for regional 
stability and cooperation.  I want especially to point to its central 
role in the courageous effort to bring peace and democracy to the long-
suffering people of Cambodia through diplomacy, deployment of units, and 
provision of equipment.

The United States will continue to work with you and others to provide 
the Cambodian people a brighter future.  Since 1986, we have supplied 
some $200 million in humanitarian assistance to meet pressing needs 
throughout Cambodia.  We have contributed more than $500 million to the 
UN peace-keeping mission in Cambodia.  We are committed to continuing to 
help with the difficult task of rebuilding that country.

At the regional level, the post-Cold War dynamic has produced radical 
shifts in old balances of power.  A New Pacific Community must forge a 
new regional balance that promotes stability, regional arms control, and 
the peaceful resolution of disputes.  As ASEAN has recognized and the 
United States has fully supported, we need new regional security 
dialogues to meet common challenges.  This forum is most promising in 
this regard.  Asia is not Europe.  The 1990s are not the Cold War.  
Thus, together we envision not the building of blocs against a common 
threat but rather intensified discussions among nations that may harbor 
apprehension about the intentions of others.

Underlining a change in U.S. policy, President Clinton announced at the 
Korean National Assembly earlier in July that we will participate 
actively in regional security dialogues in Asia.  We believe such 
discussions can complement our bilateral relationships, help reduce 
tensions, enhance openness and transparency, and prevent destabilizing 
arms races.  These dialogues should therefore be inclusive:  The United 
States welcomes the progressive integration of China, Russia, and others 
in this ASEAN-PMC framework.  As the President said, "these arrangements 
can function as overlapping plates of armor . . . covering the full body 
of our common security concerns."  Let me emphasize, however, that 
regional security dialogues in no way supplant America's alliances or 
forward military presence in Asia.  Rather, they are supplements to 
ensure a peaceful and stable Asia in the post-Cold War era.

Let me now turn to the economic dimension.  As Secretary of State, I 
believe our capacity to carry out vital security commitments is 
powerfully advanced by the renewal of America's economic strength at 
home and abroad.  In the long run, only a healthy, self-confident 
America will be able and willing to engage positively in Asia.

Under President Clinton's leadership, America is back as a responsible 
manager of its economy and as a leader on global economic issues.  We 
stand on the verge of reducing our budget deficit by $500 billion over 
the next 5 years.  We are taking tough steps on the deficit and in areas 
such as education, health care, and competitiveness.  And as we saw at 
the G-7 summit, the rest of the world is taking notice.

The United States is prepared to be a full partner in a New Pacific 
Community.  Forty percent of America's trade is now with Asia, 
accounting for more than 2.3 million American jobs.  Only a quarter 
century ago, total U.S. trade with all of East Asia was less than that 
with Latin America--and our trade with the ASEAN countries was a 
fraction of that.  Last year, two-way trans-Pacific trade was $325 
billion, three times that of U.S. trade with Latin America and almost 
50% more than with Western Europe.  Collectively, ASEAN is now our 
fourth- largest trading partner.  

No region depends more on trade than Asia, and no region has more at 
stake in the success of global trade liberalization.  Asian nations have 
asked the United States to keep its market open, and we are determined 
to do so.  Asian nations have asked America to remain engaged in the 
region, and we are determined to do so.  But for the American people to 
appreciate the benefits of such engagement, Asia's markets must be open 
to American goods and services.

Thanks in part to the work at the recent G-7 summit, there is a renewed 
sense of urgency to the drive toward more open markets.  The summit 
leaders reached an important agreement on tariff reductions in the 
Uruguay Round negotiations.  ASEAN and its dialogue partners can make an 
immediate and constructive contribution to the world trading system by 
endorsing the market access breakthrough achieved at the G-7 summit and 
by joining with other nations to push for a successful conclusion of the 
Uruguay Round this year.  This region has much to gain by the successful 
conclusion of the Round and much to lose from a failed negotiation.

Our belief in the benefits of trade liberalization underlies our 
commitment to APEC as the cornerstone of regional economic cooperation.  
Representing about half the world's GNP, APEC can be a focal point for 
building a New Pacific Community and will provide the framework for 
expanded trade and investment flows through the Asia-Pacific region.

We are looking forward to hosting the APEC Ministerial meeting in 
Seattle this November.  I hope you will join me in using that meeting to 
adopt a trade and investment framework for market-oriented policies, 
provide a greater role for the private sector, and strengthen APEC as an 

Also, as you know, President Clinton would like his APEC colleagues to 
join him immediately after the Ministerial to discuss, in a quiet 
setting, the economic challenges we must meet to realize the vision of a 
New Pacific Community.  The President  believes  we must find 
cooperative solutions to our economic problems--how to sustain growth, 
create jobs, increase the competitiveness of our industries, and improve 
the living standards of all our people.  I hope your leaders will agree 
to attend.

Our successes in the security and economic realms have brought with them 
a strong new impulse toward freedom and democracy.  As President Clinton 
has said, "expanded trade and more open economies not only enrich 
people, they also empower them."  By promoting free markets, we 
strengthen free societies and we strengthen regional peace and 

Democracies are not just a moral imperative; they are a practical 
necessity.  Democracies do not threaten their neighbors.  They do not 
practice terrorism.  They do not spawn refugees.  They respond to the 
needs of their citizens and thereby achieve greater stability and 
prosperity for all.

We respect the religious, social, political, and cultural 
characteristics that make each of our countries unique.  We were pleased 
that, despite differing perspectives, all our countries were able to 
agree at the World Human Rights Conference in Vienna in June that human 
rights are universal.  Cultural, social, and other differences cannot 
justify denying those rights.

Some have argued that democracy is somehow unsuited for Asia and that 
our emphasis on human rights is a mask for Western cultural imperialism.  
They could not be more wrong.  In fact, democracy has been strengthened 
over the last decade around Asia--in Taiwan and Korea, in the 
Philippines and Thailand, in Mongolia and elsewhere.  The yearnings for 
more freedom are not a Western export; they are a human instinct.

ASEAN nations have played a critical role in the transition to democracy 
in Cambodia.  A 90% turnout in the recent Cambodian election, amid 
violence and intimidation, is a tribute to the courage of the Cambodian 
people. That turnout also testifies to the value of our persistent 
efforts together on this issue.  Even in the barren terrain of what was 
once a "killing field," democracy is taking root.  But the international 
community must remain engaged and vigilant in helping the people of 
Cambodia secure a peaceful and prosperous future.

Throughout Asia, we recognize far-sighted and brave individuals whose 
lives and words speak eloquently to the universal appeal of democracy 
and the rule of law.  Last week, President Clinton marked the fourth 
anniversary of the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi, the courageous Burmese 
opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.  He renewed his call 
to Burma's military leaders "to release unconditionally Nobel Prize 
winner Aung San Suu Kyi and all other prisoners of conscience, to 
respect the results of the 1990 elections, and to undertake genuine 
democratic reforms."

In Asia as in the rest of the world, freedom is linked to development, 
prosperity, and the spread of market principles.  Our work together and 
our shared democratic values will provide an even stronger bond between 
Americans and Asians in the coming century.

Recognizing how far we have come together, I believe we can realize the 
vision of a New Pacific Community, a community of free peoples and 
nations empowered to lift Asia and the Pacific into a new era of peace, 
prosperity, and freedom.

My delegation and I look forward to these discussions at the Post-
Ministerial Conference.  Thank you. 


To the top of this page