Rancho Mirage, California
15 February 2016
The Special US-ASEAN Summit officially begins as United States President Barack Obama welcomed President Aquino and other leaders of ASEAN at The Great Room of Sunnylands where the two-day meeting takes place.
In his opening remarks, President Obama said that the summit is a reflection of his personal commitment and the national commitment of the US to a strong and lasting partnership with the ASEAN nations and to Southeast Asia “as one region, as one community – ASEAN.”
According to the US leader, the trade between the US and ASEAN has boosted to 55% since he assumed office, making the region the fourth trading partner of America. “Together, we can continue to increase the trade and economic partnerships to create jobs and opportunity for our people,” he said.
President Obama likewise congratulated his fellow leaders for the formation of the ASEAN community. On security, he explained that the increased maritime security assistance given by the US to its allies in the region will improve the mutual capabilities “to protect lawful commerce and the respond to humanitarian crisis.”
“Here, in this summit, we can advance our shared vision of a regional order where international rules and norms including freedom of navigation are upheld and where disputes are resolved through peaceful legal means,” said President Obama.
The summit is a follow-up to the elevation of US-ASEAN dialogue relations into a Strategic Partnership last November. The discussions will focus on trade, security, peace and stability in the region, including the issue on West Philippine Sea, and countering violent extremism.
After the first session, President Obama hosted a working dinner at the Sunnylands Historic House where President Aquino discussed the importance of upholding the rule of law and peaceful resolution of disputes in the region.
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