Asean’s 50th Founding Anniversary
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Ambassadors of the ASEAN Committee in Washington, D.C. (ACW), together tendered a diplomatic reception at the Philippine Embassy on 13 September 2017 to celebrate the 50th Founding Anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Speaking on behalf of the ASEAN Ambassadors, Philippine Embassy Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Minister Patrick A. Chuasoto in his remarks said ASEAN’s establishment had much to do with realization that, “sustained peace and stability as well as meaningful socio-economic development must also be sought through regional cooperation and solidarity.”
Minister Chuasoto also highlighted ASEAN’s steady progress in the past 50 years – greater integration efforts, increased political and economic cohesiveness, widespread engagements and strategic partnerships – while underscoring the principle of ASEAN centrality as an effective enabler for regional cooperation.
“Strategic diversity thus should not be regarded as something that threatens to overwhelm the Community and its efforts towards greater integration. We know this because the past 50 years have already validated ASEAN’s economic and strategic logic. Through perseverance and resolve, ASEAN now sits as a respected and important member of the global community,” he further said.
He also emphasized ASEAN’s strategic partnership with the United States strengthened by mutual trust and confidence and reinforced by people-to-people exchanges. “YSEALI is an outstanding example of how today’s millennials will drive ASEAN-US relations and develop ASEAN’s next generation of leaders”, Minister Chuasoto said.
In her remarks, Guest of Honor Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO), who is also the Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on ASEAN, further emphasized the dynamic partnership between ASEAN and the United States in the past 40 years.
“Our Caucus believes that ASEAN should be the United States’ go-to partner for trade and investment,” said Congresswoman Wagner. With the help of people here tonight, our Caucus promises to build the next generation of leaders who will sustain and grow our cherished relationship,” she concluded.
Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton, another Guest of Honor, also spoke on the 40 years of rich relations between ASEAN and the United States. She called the relationship a compelling and strategic partnership on important issues.
Acting Assistant Secretary Thornton also expressed optimism at the Philippines’ successful chairmanship of ASEAN 2017, to be capped off by the upcoming Leaders’ meetings in November 2017.
“Since the first ASEAN-US Dialogue in Manila in 1977, we have partnered to improve the lives of citizens on both sides of the Pacific. Now we have a robust, strategic partnership through which we will also cooperate with ASEAN and its member states on security, rule of law, human rights, and people to people engagement,” she said.
US-ASEAN Business Council President and CEO Alex Feldman talked about the ASEAN Economic Community and its progress, and the importance of ASEAN to the United States.
“We are the very first organization outside of ASEAN to adopt the ASEAN name. We are the first and only American organization to be formally recognized in the ASEAN Charter and our purpose then as is our purpose today is to help American business grow in ASEAN, and grow it has,” Mr. Feldman said.
“American business has clearly bet on ASEAN today and on its future,” he further emphasized.
Following the official reception program, guests partook of a sumptuous buffet of different cuisines from each of the ten ASEAN countries.
Members of the Northern Virginia Rondalla provided the pre-program entertainment.