Jakarta, 26 April 2011

N110426

H.E. David Lee Carden, the United States’ first resident Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, presented his Letter of credentials to the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan. The presentation was held at the ASEAN Secretariat on 26 April 2011.

“I am deeply honoured to stand here with Dr. Surin as I begin the important mission President Obama has asked me to undertake,” Ambassador Carden said in his statement. “ASEAN is at the center of profound changes taking place in Asia. The United States is committed at all levels to supporting a robust ASEAN role in realizing the vision of an integrated, secure, prosperous and democratic Southeast Asia.”

“Ambassador Carden has been charged to conduct the affairs of his mission in a manner to advance the mutual interests of the Associations of Southeast Asian Nations and of the United States of America. I ask that you receive him favourably and give full credence to what he shall say on the part of the United States,” stated US President Obama in his letter to the Secretary-General of ASEAN.

Dr. Surin responded that “proactive re-engagement of the U.S. with ASEAN has reinvigorated ASEAN-U.S. relations. The historic ASEAN-U.S. Leaders’ Meetings reflect the US’ recognition of ASEAN’s growing role in global issues. I’m looking forward to working with Ambassador Carden to maintain this positive momentum.”

Over the last two years, US-ASEAN relations have grown significantly with the renewed commitment to the region by Washington. United States President Obama met with ASEAN leaders in November 2009 and September 2010. Secretary of State Clinton visited the ASEAN Secretariat in her first overseas tour in February 2009, She is expected to return to Indonesia in July 2011 to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum Ministerial Retreat and Post Ministerial Conference.

US-ASEAN economic relations have also expanded. Total trade between the United States and ASEAN countries amounted to more than US$ 146 billion in 2009, and United States investment stood at over $3.3 billion, accounting for over 8.5 percent of total foreign direct investment in the region.

Noting the current developments in the region, Ambassador Carden said that the United States has been impressed with Indonesia’s strong leadership of ASEAN during its chairmanship this year. “I look forward to working with my Indonesian colleagues, and all of my new ASEAN friends, to consolidate and extend ASEAN’s recent advancements,” Ambassador Carden added.

SG Dr. Surin and Ambassador Carden also discussed regional issues and the way forward to further strengthen and increase dialogue cooperation between ASEAN and the United States.

An attorney by profession, Ambassador Carden has broad experience coordinating complex and high-profile defenses of litigation brought in United States courts and abroad.