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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

                    (Jakarta, Indonesia)
_________________________________________________________________


                     WRITTEN STATEMENT BY
            SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
   AT THE ASEAN POST-MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE (7 PLUS 10 SESSION)

                     Jakarta, Indonesia
                       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 
Asian immigrants.  

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 
some.

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.

Security

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 
cooperation.

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 
legitimate commerce.

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.

Prosperity 

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 
prosper.

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 
world.
  
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 
succeed.

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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