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U.S. Department of State
95/08/01 Remarks:  Opening Intervention at ASEAN Ministerial
Office of the Spokesman

                          U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                           Office of the Spokesman
                         (Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei)
For Immediate Release                                August 1, 1995
                           OPENING INTERVENTION
                                    BY
                U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
                                    AT
                 1995 ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM MINISTERIAL

                     International Convention Center
                       Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
                              August 1, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  It is a great pleasure to join you today at 
the second meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum.  Through the Forum's 
development, the nations of ASEAN are once again demonstrating their 
commitment to creating an Asia-Pacific community.  Brunei in particular 
deserves great credit for the work it has done as chairman and host to 
make this year's meeting a success.
The end of the Cold War has brought profound change to the Asia-Pacific 
region.  After a half-century that saw three wars involving almost every 
country represented here today, Asia has an unprecedented opportunity to 
provide its people with lasting security and prosperity.  Our region is 
now remarkably free of conflict.  But while no major power views any 
other as an immediate military threat, there is a danger that old 
rivalries could be rekindled or new ones could develop.  Moreover, many 
Asian powers are in a period of transition.  All our nations face new 
challenges like the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the 
emergence of narcotics networks, and severe pressures on the 
environment.  These challenges underscore the importance of the 
potential of the ASEAN Regional Forum.
In this time of change, a stable U.S. presence is especially important.  
Indeed, that presence is widely welcomed in the region.  Moreover, on 
the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, American 
engagement in Asia remains as essential to our own security and 
prosperity as ever before.  That is why President Clinton has renewed 
and reinforced our commitment to remain a Pacific power.
Our strategy for a peaceful and prosperous Asia-Pacific region starts 
with our core alliances.  Security must always come first.  Our five 
treaty alliances with Japan, Korea, Australia, Thailand and the 
Philippines will continue to provide the foundation for our security 
commitment, with the U.S.-Japan alliance as its cornerstone.  The United 
States will keep approximately 100,000 troops in the region--roughly 
equivalent to the level we will maintain in Europe.  In addition to the 
U.S. troops stationed in the region through our treaty alliances, we 
will maintain other forward-deployed forces through access arrangements 
with other countries in the region.
We will also pursue a policy of engagement with the other leading powers 
in the region, including former Cold War adversaries.  Few nations are 
poised to play as large a role in shaping the future of Asia than China.  
While we are now experiencing a period of difficulty in this important 
relationship, we are convinced that the policy of engagement we have 
carried out for more than two decades is in the interest of the United 
States, China, and the other countries of the Asia-Pacific region.
I am committed to this policy of regular involvement with Chinese 
leaders and will have my ninth meeting with Foreign Minister Qian Qichen 
this evening.  In my meeting, I intend to review the fundamentals of the 
U.S.-PRC relationship, to reiterate the continuity of our so-called 
"one-China" policy, to address candidly areas where our policies 
diverge, and to seek to restore positive momentum to the relationship.  
We have no desire to contain or isolate China.  I believe that both the 
United States and China have a responsibility to maintain constructive 
relationships with each other and with the entire Pacific Community.
On Saturday, I will travel to Vietnam to carry out President Clinton's 
historic decision to open full diplomatic relations between our two 
countries.  In addition to promoting regional stability, this step will 
further the United States' priority goal of securing the fullest 
possible accounting of our prisoners of war and missing in action.  The 
President's decision is a further manifestation of our engagement in 
Asia.
We will also continue to engage with Russia, recognizing that a stable, 
democratic and prosperous Russia can be a force for security and 
prosperity in the Asia-Pacific as well as in Europe.
To reinforce our treaty alliances and our policy of engagement, we will 
work with others in the region to build a sound architecture for 
regional cooperation.  The ASEAN Regional Forum will have a central 
place in this work.  The Regional Forum--only one year old--can make an 
important contribution.  Just glance around this table.  In no other 
governmental forum does the Pacific community gather to address key 
security issues.  Given its membership, the Forum can play a useful role 
in conveying intentions, promoting constructive dialogue, and 
restraining potential arms races.  In its first year, the Forum has 
already made significant progress in building consensus on possible 
confidence-building measures and in identifying areas for cooperation.
Today's meeting gives us the opportunity to develop the ASEAN Forum's 
potential.  Allow me to mention briefly some regional security issues 
that we believe are particularly important:
No issue has been more important than the challenge posed by North 
Korea's nuclear program.  We are on the road to resolving this issue.  
We urge the nations of the Asia-Pacific region to support the Korean 
Peninsula Energy Development Organization that will play a key role in 
implementing the U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework.
Maintaining freedom of navigation is a fundamental interest of the 
United States.  We urge all claimants in the South China Sea to solve 
their disputes through dialogue and we reiterate our willingness to 
assist in any way they deem helpful.  We welcome China's statement that 
it will act in accordance with international law, including the Law of 
the Sea, in its efforts to resolve this dispute.
The United States welcomes Cambodia's membership in the ASEAN Regional 
Forum.  We call on its members and the international community to 
continue to support the efforts of the Cambodian people to overcome 
their tragic past.
The Forum Chairman's Statement should show that we had a constructive 
discussion of these and other issues in the spirit of mutual respect 
that has already served the Forum so well.  I also hope that we can 
agree on a work program for our first series of intergovernmental 
meetings over the coming year   Never have the prospects for a secure 
and prosperous Asia-Pacific region seemed brighter.  Our successful 
efforts today will help ensure that the current favorable environment 
will endure.  Thank you very much.
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