The US has reiterated its strong commitment to ASEAN and reaffirmed its pledge to further strengthen ASEAN-US relations.
In a clarion call, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said, “If you may recall my message last year, I said that the US is back, and now here I am to confirm that we are back and we are here to stay!” Secretary Clinton relayed the message during the ASEAN-US Post-Ministerial Conference (PMC) held in Ha Noi on 22 July 2010.
At the PMC, both ASEAN and US reviewed the overall progress of the ASEAN-US dialogue cooperation for the past one year since their last PMC +1 in July 2009 in Phuket, Thailand and expressed satisfaction over the successful implementation of the Plan of Action and the Joint Statement of the 1st ASEAN-US Leaders Meeting.
The US, in reaffirming its commitment to assist ASEAN, including increasing its assistance, said that strong institutions like ASEAN could help the US in maintaining peace and stability in the region. The US also reaffirmed its stand to engage in the East Asia Summit (EAS) process and the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus mechanism with ASEAN playing a central role in these regional architectures.
The ASEAN Foreign Ministers, in the Joint Communiqué of the 43rd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on 20 July, had welcomed the expressed interest of the US, and the Russian Federation, to join the EAS. They will now recommend to the ASEAN Leaders at the 17th ASEAN Summit in Ha Noi in October 2010 to formally make the decision on inviting the two countries to join the EAS. With this move, the Foreign Ministers reaffirmed ASEAN Centrality as well as the established objectives and principles of the EAS as a Leaders-led forum.