The Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) to ASEAN concluded a productive week-long visit to the United States at its first stop in Washington D.C. from 24 to 26 September 2012 and second stop at San Francisco from 26 to 29 September 2012.

On the first three days of the program in Washington D.C, the CPR visited the American University’s ASEAN Studies Center, the Center for Strategic and international Studies (CSIS) and the US Chamber of Commerce to exchange views on issues such as regional architecture, trade liberalization, connectivity and human rights. The CPR also paid a courtesy call to the Organization of American States (OAS) to discuss efforts to forge closer cooperation between ASEAN and the OAS, and to share experience as well as best practices on many areas of mutual interest such as security cooperation, combating illicit drugs, democracy, human rights, trade and agriculture.

The CPR also engaged in extensive discussions with several high-ranking officials of the United States Department of State, the United States Department of Defense, and the White House’s National Security Council (NSC); on recent developments in ASEAN, progress on ASEAN-US dialogue relations and a range of issues of mutual interest such as defence and security cooperation, maritime cooperation and disaster management. In their meetings with high-ranking US officials, the delegation took the opportunity to underscore ASEAN’s deep commitment to continue to work closely together, in a spirit of unity and solidarity, in shaping the ASEAN Community in 2015. The delegation expressed gratitude to the United States for its continued support towards the establishment of the ASEAN Community Building in 2015, and was also pleased with the US sustained engagement at the highest level in the region especially since the appointment of the first resident U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN, H.E. Mr. David Lee Carden in 2011.

In San Francisco, the CPR had the opportunity to visit the US independent non-profit research-group “The Institute for The Future” (TITF), the international educational non-governmental organization “Room to Read” and the “Asia Foundation”. The CPR also held valuable discussions with Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco, where they discussed economic development and job creation as well sustainable green cities. The delegation also visited the Stanford University and held discussions with leading scholars and analysts from Hoover Institution on the progress of human rights, rule of law, and good governance in ASEAN.

The U.S. is the sixth Dialogue Partners of ASEAN that was visited by the ASEAN CPR after EU, Japan, China, India and Republic of Korea. This program is conducted as a series of public outreach efforts to help ASEAN reach an ASEAN Community by 2015. The CPR visit to the U.S. was organized by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) with assistance by the ASEAN-US Technical Assistance and Training Facility (TATF).

The year 2012 is an auspicious year for both ASEAN and the US as it marks the 35th Anniversary of ASEAN-US dialogue partnership. In the 35 years since the establishment of our dialogue partnership, ASEAN-US relations have witnessed a steady and stable development in all fields including political and security, economic and trade, social and cultural, and development cooperation, while the mutual understanding and friendship has also constantly deepened.