We the Heads of State/Government of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United States of America gathered in Sunnylands, California, on February 15-16, 2016, for a Special Leaders Summit. This Special ASEAN – U.S. Leaders Summit was the first ever to be held in the United States and the very first Summit following the establishment of the ASEAN Community.
The Summit marked a watershed year for both ASEAN and for the increasingly close ASEAN-U.S. strategic partnership. In 2015, ASEAN Member States celebrated the establishment of the ASEAN Community, working together toward an ASEAN that better serves the people of Southeast Asia.
At our Summit in Kuala Lumpur in November 2015, we elevated the ASEAN-U.S. relationship to a strategic partnership, recognizing the transformation of our relationship over the past several years. On the occasion of this Special Summit, we the Heads of State/Government of the Member States of ASEAN and the United States of America take this opportunity to reaffirm the key principles that will guide our cooperation going forward:
1. Mutual respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, equality and political independence of all nations by firmly upholding the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, the ASEAN Charter and international law;
2. The importance of shared prosperity, sustainable, inclusive economic growth and development, and the nurturing of our young people to sustain continued peace, development, and stability for mutual benefit;
3. Mutual recognition of the importance of pursuing policies that lead to dynamic, open, and competitive economies that foster economic growth, job creation, innovation, entrepreneurship and connectivity, and that support SMEs and narrow the development gap;
4. Our commitment to ensure opportunities for all of our peoples, through strengthening democracy, enhancing good governance and adherence to the rule of law, promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, encouraging the promotion of tolerance and moderation, and protecting the environment;
5. Respect and support for ASEAN Centrality and ASEAN-led mechanisms in the evolving regional architecture of the Asia-Pacific;
6. Firm adherence to a rules-based regional and international order that upholds and protects the rights and privileges of all states;
7. Shared commitment to peaceful resolution of disputes, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat or use of force in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS);
8. Shared commitment to maintain peace, security and stability in the region, ensuring maritime security and safety, including the rights of freedom of navigation and overflight and other lawful uses of the seas, and unimpeded lawful maritime commerce as described in the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as well as non-militarisation and self-restraint in the conduct of activities;
9. Shared commitment to promote cooperation to address common challenges in the maritime domain;
10. Strong resolve to lead on global issues such as terrorism and violent extremism, trafficking in persons, drug trafficking, and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, as well as illicit trafficking of wildlife and timber;
11. Shared commitment to addressing climate change and developing a climate-resilient, environmentally sustainable ASEAN, as well as to implement individual countries’ nationally determined contributions made under the Paris Climate Agreement;
12. Shared commitment to promote security and stability in cyberspace consistent with norms of responsible state behavior;
13. Support for the advancement of a strong, stable, politically cohesive, economically integrated, socially responsible, people-oriented, people-centered and rules-based ASEAN Community;
14. Shared commitment to strengthen people-to-people connectivity through programs that engage ASEAN and American citizens, particularly young people, and that promote opportunities for all our peoples, particularly the most vulnerable, to fulfil the vision of the ASEAN Community;
15. Shared commitment to promote a global partnership for sustainable development through the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, to ensure a sustainable, equitable and inclusive society where no one is left behind;
16. Shared commitment to enhance collaboration at international and regional fora, especially at existing ASEAN-led mechanisms; and
17. Shared commitment to continue political dialogue at the Head of State/Government level through our Leaders’ attendance at the annual ASEAN-U.S. Summit and the East Asia Summit.
Download the full statement here.