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U.S. Department of State
96/07/24 ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conf. 7 Plus 10 Session
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
WRITTEN STATEMENT BY
SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
AT THE ASEAN POST-MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE (7 PLUS 10 SESSION)
July 24, 1996
It is a great honor to represent the United States at this year's ASEAN
Post Ministerial Conference. Building on yesterday's meeting of the
ASEAN Regional Forum, I welcome this opportunity to exchange views with
my friends and colleagues, now including those from Russia, China, and
India. On behalf of the United States, I thank Foreign Minister Alatas
for Indonesia's hospitality and hard work.
The expansion of this dialogue is a tribute to ASEAN's dynamism and
development. The achievements of ASEAN's members have helped to triple
Asia's percentage of global output in the last three decades. Your
launch of the ASEAN Regional Forum has added a valuable dimension to our
common effort to maintain peace and stability. Your commitment to
integration has been vital to the success of the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) forum. Your emphasis on consultation and consensus
has helped lay the basis for what President Clinton called a Pacific
community "of shared interests, shared goals, and a shared commitment to
mutually beneficial cooperation."
ASEAN's contribution to the remarkable transformation of the Asia-
Pacific region over the last half-century reflects the energy and vision
of its diverse peoples. It also testifies to the long-standing
partnership between ASEAN and the United States, and to the American
commitment to defend freedom and promote prosperity across the Pacific.
As Foreign Minister Jayakumar of Singapore recently said, "it was the
climate of security and stability that United States power provided that
enabled economic growth to germinate and flourish in Southeast Asia and
across East Asia." In turn, the American people have benefited over the
last half-century from strong security ties with our allies and
partners, growing economic links, and the talent and drive of countless
With the end of the Cold War, the Asia-Pacific region is more important
to U.S. interests than ever before. Our security rests on maintaining
stability where the interests of many powers intersect. Our prosperity
depends on sustaining the dynamism and openness of a region that
accounts for 40 percent of our trade. The health of our environment and
the safety of our citizens rely increasingly on cooperation with the
nations of the Asia-Pacific. And as technology and trade blur borders
and shrink distances, we count on the flow of peoples and ideas across
the Pacific to spur what Prime Minister Mahathir of Malaysia calls
"mutual enrichment" rather than the clash of civilizations predicted by
As President Clinton made clear during his most recent trip to Japan and
Korea last April, the United States is and will remain a Pacific power.
During the last three years, we have reinvigorated our bilateral
alliances and sustained our forward-deployed presence. We confronted
the threat posed by North Korea's dangerous nuclear program and
concluded an agreement that is leading to its dismantlement. We have
worked to establish a relationship with China that will help ensure
global and regional stability. We opened an historic new chapter in our
relations with Vietnam. We have supported security dialogues such as
the ASEAN Regional Forum and the Northeast Asia Security Dialogue. We
gave new momentum to regional economic integration by hosting the first
APEC Leaders Meeting. And we have concluded scores of agreements with
our trading partners that promise concrete mutual benefits.
These key strategic decisions reflect the strong emphasis that the
Clinton Administration has put on our relations with Asia. Our goal has
been two-fold: first, to strengthen the ties that have kept the peace
and helped nations born of colonial empires to become vibrant
democracies; and second, to devise new approaches to regional
cooperation in order to advance a growing range of shared interests in a
more interdependent world.
Of these shared interests, maintaining security always comes first.
While the Asia-Pacific region is today remarkably free of conflict, the
end of the Cold War is just one period in a long history scarred by old
antagonisms. The United States shares the view of almost every country
in this region that our strong security presence remains the bedrock for
regional stability and prosperity. We are committed to maintaining
approximately 100,000 troops in the Pacific -- roughly equivalent to the
level we maintain in Europe.
The cornerstone of our engagement in the Pacific remains our partnership
with Japan. The Joint Declaration signed by the President and Prime
Minister Hashimoto last April in Tokyo will enable our alliance to meet
the challenges of the next century. These strengthened ties, in turn,
will benefit all the nations of the Asia-Pacific region.
During the last three years, we have also developed an unprecedented
degree of cooperation with our ally South Korea. Building on the
partnership that helped forge the U.S.-DPRK Agreed Framework, we are
striving together to reach a durable peace on the Korean peninsula. We
continue to urge North Korea to respond positively to the proposal made
by President Kim and President Clinton for four-party talks among the
United States, South Korea, North Korea and China.
We have also reaffirmed our three other core alliances in the region.
We have bolstered links to our treaty allies the Philippines and
Thailand and expanded our military access arrangements with other ASEAN
members. Two days from now, I will travel to Australia for our annual
ministerial meeting, where we will explore ways to expand our excellent
Our alliances and forward-deployed presence provide a firm foundation
for deepening our engagement with other nations in the region. Of
course, no nation will play a larger role in shaping the future of Asia
than China. Its continuing modernization and development are essential
to the security and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. So, too, is
a stable environment for the peaceful resolution of issues between the
PRC and Taiwan, and a smooth and successful transition of Hong Kong to
Chinese sovereignty in 1997.
The United States seeks a constructive relationship with China that will
enable us to advance an array of important interests. We recognize that
we continue to face areas of difference, which we must seek to manage
constructively. We have made steady progress in recent months,
including resolving disagreements over nuclear exports and intellectual
property rights and renewing China's Most Favored Nation trading status.
I look forward to meeting with Vice Premier Qian Qichen here in Jakarta
to discuss how we can achieve common goals such as the conclusion of a
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and peace on the Korean Peninsula. We
also hope to build on the highly productive talks that National Security
Advisor Lake held two weeks ago in Beijing and to lay the groundwork for
regular high-level contacts between our governments.
Since opening formal diplomatic relations with Vietnam last summer, the
United States has also sought to advance our relations with ASEAN's
newest member. Our decision to normalize ties has furthered our efforts
to secure the fullest possible accounting of our prisoners of war and
missing in action. It has also enabled us to broaden trade and
investment, to expand cooperation on counter-narcotics, and to work with
Southeast Asian nations to bring the Comprehensive Plan of Action for
Vietnamese boat people to a humane conclusion. As Vietnam continues to
develop and become more open, the United States looks forward to
expanding our economic ties, as well as deepening our dialogue on human
rights and other shared interests.
The United States and Russia also share a strong interest in ensuring
regional security. We welcome Russia's participation in this dialogue
and regional security talks. Russia's recent presidential election is a
tribute to the enormous progress that Russia has made. President
Yeltsin's victory is a mandate for continued political and economic
reform. As these reforms deepen, Russia's influence as a force for
security and stability in the region will grow. We also believe that
India's growing interest and involvement in the Asia-Pacific region will
enhance regional security.
Mechanisms such as the ASEAN Regional Forum and this Post-Ministerial
Conference complement our bilateral efforts to promote stability and
prosperity. The ARF is already encouraging meaningful discussion of
security issues, confidence-building measures, and other forms of
cooperation. It is playing a valuable role in defusing tensions
surrounding territorial claims in the South China Sea and the Spratly
Islands. It can be particularly useful in supporting nonproliferation
and the transparency of conventional arms transfers. U.S. engagement in
the ARF will deepen as we make further concrete progress on our work
program, and on moving from confidence-building to preventive diplomacy.
We will seek to ensure the ARF's ability to discuss important regional
security issues in a meaningful way.
Yesterday's meeting gave us the chance to exchange views about the
situation on the Korean Peninsula. President Clinton is committed to
strong U.S. support for the Agreed Framework that has put the North
Korean nuclear problem on the road to resolution. While the Korean
Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) established to
implement the Framework is moving forward, it faces a significant
funding shortfall. Many of the nations here are already assisting KEDO.
I urge those that have not done so to give KEDO significant and
sustained support. Since all of us in the Asia-Pacific will gain from a
stable and prosperous Korean Peninsula, I also urge you to encourage
resumption of the dialogue between North and South that is essential to
closing the Cold War's last remaining division.
Beyond North Korea, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
continues to pose the most pressing threat to global security in the
post-Cold War world. That is why more than 170 nations agreed last year
to the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Now
we have the chance to fulfill the goals of the NPT Review Conference by
reaching a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty for signature in September.
The United States welcomes yesterday's statement by the ARF chairman
supporting completion of a CTBT -- an achievement that would greatly
benefit the peoples of this region in particular.
We welcome the increasingly strong support of ASEAN members and other
Asia-Pacific nations for global nonproliferation regimes. We remain
committed to examining ways to resolve our differences over the proposed
Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. We will continue to work with
you to help build export control systems to prevent destabilizing
transfers of sensitive items and technologies.
The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is just one of a set of
security challenges that have attained a new and dangerous scope as the
world has grown closer. Terrorism, crime, narcotics, pollution and
disease transcend borders and defy ideologies. They threaten the
region's remarkable gains. Each of us must vigorously fight these
enemies on our own. But we will never be truly secure until we
effectively fight them together. An effective United Nations is
essential to meeting these challenges to our security. That is one
reason why the United States is aggressively promoting UN reform.
As nations that are assuming growing responsibilities, ASEAN members
also have a critical role to play in the global effort to confront
transnational threats. The United States asked to put global issues on
the agenda of this meeting because our PMC dialogue can be a valuable
forum for intensifying our international cooperation.
First and foremost, we must unite our forces against the terrorists who
have killed and maimed innocent civilians from Tokyo to New York. Those
who support such heinous crimes must likewise face the full weight of
sanctions that the international community can bring to bear.
We thank the Philippines for helping to foil a plot to blow up U.S.
airliners over the Pacific and for assisting efforts to apprehend Ramzi
Yousef, the alleged mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing. We
call on all the governments in the region to ratify the 11 existing
international anti-terrorism agreements by 2000, and to adopt and pursue
the practical steps against terrorism endorsed by the P-8 leaders last
month in Lyon.
We must also take measures to crack down on the narcotics traffickers
and international criminals who threaten citizens and undermine
societies on both sides of the Pacific. The cancer of heroin and opium
from Burma -- the world's largest producer -- is metastasizing
throughout East and Southeast Asia, sapping the vitality of its youth
and corrupting its officials. The illicit networks that channel drugs,
illegal aliens, and stolen merchandise between Asia and the United
States and Europe in turn use their ill-gotten gains to prey on
President Clinton has intensified our efforts to combat crime and drug
addiction at home and called at the 50th UN General Assembly for a
sustained campaign against these global predators. The United States
hopes to deepen our cooperation with ASEAN and other Asia-Pacific
nations against illegal narcotics, especially to stem the flow of heroin
from Burma. And we call on all nations -- especially the growing
economies of ASEAN -- to adopt strict measures to combat money
laundering and to deny criminals refuge and access to their assets.
The United States also believes that environmental issues will have an
increasingly profound impact on stability and prosperity in the Asia-
Pacific region and around the world. From the lush paddies of the
Mekong Delta to the granaries of China and the old-growth forests of
America's Pacific Northwest, we cannot sustain economic growth and
improve living standards if we do not cooperate to conserve the natural
resources upon which our health and future prosperity depend. Indeed,
there is no greater symbol of our increasing interdependence than what
the writer Herman Melville called "the mysterious divine Pacific," whose
rich waters provide sustenance for all our nations.
The recent U.S. proposal to set binding targets for reducing global
greenhouse gas emissions reflects our determination to intensify our
global efforts against pollution. We are cooperating throughout the
Asia-Pacific region to sustain forests, reduce rapid population growth,
and stem the spread of HIV/AIDS. We are also deepening our regional
efforts to curb marine pollution, develop clean technology, halt
destructive logging practices, and meet critical needs for clean water
and sanitation. We welcome the support of the ASEAN nations for
International Coral Reef Initiative, whose leadership Australia is about
to assume. We look forward to furthering the results of the recent APEC
Sustainable Development Ministerial, especially our common goal of
cleaner oceans and seas in the Pacific basin.
Nowhere is the mutually reinforcing relationship between our common
security and economic interests more apparent than in the Asia-Pacific
region. Continued stability is essential if the ASEAN economies in
particular are to sustain the dynamism that has fueled explosive growth
rates. We also share a powerful interest in maintaining the open global
trading system that has enabled our economies to grow and our peoples to
Dramatic export-led growth has given ASEAN an increasing stake in
opening markets not only in this region but around the world. That is
why, nearly ten years ago, ASEAN gave important impetus to the
negotiation of the GATT Uruguay Round, culminating in the most far-
reaching trade agreement in history. Now Singapore is renewing ASEAN's
trade leadership by hosting the first ministerial meeting of the new
World Trade Organization (WTO) this December.
The Singapore ministerial can make a critical contribution by promoting
the full implementation of our commitments in the Uruguay Round itself.
In particular, we must reduce tariffs and subsidies if we are to reach
the agreement's full potential to spur trade and growth. We must also
conclude the Uruguay Round's "unfinished business," especially in
services. The United States and ASEAN will both benefit from reaching
agreements in 1997 that embrace high standards of openness in two key
service sectors, telecommunications and financial services.
At the Singapore ministerial, we should also begin to set the WTO's
priorities for the early 21st century. We should strive to open up key
sectors, for instance by considering an Information Technology Agreement
to eliminate tariffs in that vital industry.
We should give new emphasis to the government procurement sector. With
their massive infrastructure needs, the ASEAN economies need fair
competition from low-cost, high-quality global suppliers. An agreement
to increase transparency in government procurement can be a first step
toward more comprehensive liberalization of this sector through the WTO.
Another new priority for the United States at the Singapore ministerial
is to begin a dialogue on the relationship between trade and core labor
standards. Our approach recognizes that different countries have
different comparative advantages, including different wage rates. But
workers everywhere should have the benefit of internationally recognized
basic worker rights that we have all endorsed such as freedom of
association and an end to child labor exploitation and forced labor.
Ensuring such protections is also essential to maintaining the consensus
for further trade liberalization in the United States and around the
Just as ASEAN nations were at the forefront of launching the Uruguay
Round, they also have given force and focus to APEC since its inception.
Building on the bold vision of economic integration framed by President
Clinton and his colleagues at the historic Blake Island leaders'
meeting, President Soeharto forged an equally bold consensus in Bogor a
year later for free and open trade in the Asia-Pacific region by 2020.
This year, another ASEAN nation, the Philippines, assumes the
responsibility of sustaining the momentum achieved with Japan's
leadership in Osaka.
Our overarching objective this November in Manila must be to begin
implementing the Osaka Action Agenda that provides the practical
blueprint for turning the Bogor commitments into concrete results. The
United States is encouraged by the work that has started on Individual
Action Plans presented by all APEC member economies in May. It is
essential that APEC member economies implement these plans to further
our goal of economic integration and growth -- and that we uphold our
commitment to the guiding principles of comprehensiveness and
comparability as we move forward.
Our Pacific community will rely increasingly on new communications
networks, integrated transportation links and the easier flow of goods,
services and people. In Manila, we must continue to develop the
economic cooperation that will make the APEC region the most advanced
and flexible business environment in the world. We need the full
engagement of the private sector in giving APEC practical relevance to
traders, investors and travelers around the Pacific Rim.
Finally, we must continue to work through APEC to encourage greater
transparency in government procurement practices. APEC's workshop on
infrastructure development, meeting in Seattle this week, is gathering
information on the highest standards and best practices already in
effect around the region -- standards and practices that can inform the
principles that we agreed in the Osaka Action Agenda to adopt. APEC
efforts can complement those we are also making bilaterally with the
ASEAN nations and globally through the WTO.
Democracy and Human Rights
The United States will also maintain its support for human rights and
democratic government. The spread of democracy throughout Asia has been
a critical factor in reducing the risk of armed conflict and ensuring
the stability required for sustained growth. In the coming century, the
most stable and prosperous societies will be those where creative ideas
are freely exchanged, where political debates can be resolved peacefully
at the ballot box, where the press can expose corruption and courts can
root it out, and where contracts are respected. As every business
person knows, the rule of law is a comparative advantage for those
nations that guarantee it.
A few decades ago, few people thought that Asia was poised for rapid
economic development. Today, there is a growing consensus that the only
successful route to prosperity and progress is through open markets and
trade irrespective of geography. The new myth is that democracy in Asia
must wait for development. That myth would come as news to the people
of Mongolia, who clearly believe that a greater political stake in
shaping their future is essential to improving their fortunes. In the
Philippines, the return of democracy has helped to galvanize economic
renewal. Democracy and development must go hand in hand if either is to
In Burma, the vast majority of people have expressed their desire for a
peaceful transition to democratic rule. The longer their legitimate
wishes are denied, the greater the chance of instability, bloodshed and
migration within Burma and across its borders. The danger is compounded
by growing economic distress felt by ordinary Burmese.
As the rule of law deteriorates in Burma, the threat its heroin trade
poses to our nations is growing. Major drug traffickers receive
government contracts and launder money with impunity in state banks.
The warlord Khun Sa remains unpunished. The longer the political
impasse continues, the more entrenched the drug trade will become.
The only way to protect our shared interests is to encourage a genuine
political dialogue between the government and the chosen representatives
of the Burmese people. We want to work with the nations of the region,
but we retain the option of taking more forceful action as developments
in Burma warrant. We recognize that ASEAN has a different approach --
indeed, President Clinton's decision to dispatch two special envoys to
the region last month reflects the importance we attach to hearing your
views. We hope that the ASEAN nations will use their engagement in
Burma constructively -- during, and most important, after our meetings
here -- to promote greater openness and stability. As Burma draws
closer to ASEAN, it will be especially important that the process of
reconciliation in that country move forward, not backward.
Cambodia has already set out on the path of reconciliation and renewal,
thanks to the courage of its people and the engagement of the
international community. It has traveled remarkably far in overcoming a
generation of conflict, terror and genocide. Last year, it joined the
ASEAN Regional Forum, and we look forward to the day when it becomes a
full member of ASEAN.
The great challenge for Cambodia is to build confidence in its future as
a stable democracy that offers greater economic opportunities for its
people. In the next two years, local and national elections will give
Cambodia a chance to show its commitment to the democratic process and
the freedoms that underlie it -- in particular freedom of the press and
the freedom to organize politically. Cambodia can also build critical
investor confidence by maintaining political stability, fighting
corruption, and soundly managing its natural resources. Two weeks ago
in Tokyo, at the Consultative Group meetings, the United States and the
international community pledged continued assistance as Cambodia's
leaders strive to meet these challenges.
Working together, our nations have made great strides in strengthening
security and promoting prosperity across the Pacific. The United States
looks forward to deepening our joint efforts in the years to come.
Technology and commerce have enabled us to turn the great ocean that
separates us into a vast conduit for goods and ideas. Let our commitment
to greater cooperation enable us to turn our broad diversity into a
source of unifying strength.
Thank you very much.
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