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ISEAS Newsletter Highlights ASEAN Matters for America


The July 2010 newsletter of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore, prominently features the ASEAN Matters for America / America Matters for ASEAN project.

The article provides a historical context to the data presented on the ASEAN Matters for America website, demonstrating the many political linkages that have been made between Southeast Asia and the United States over the last five decades:

The reality is that ASEAN and US have always mattered to each other. … The US became a Dialogue Partner of ASEAN way back in 1977, one of the first to become so. The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) has brought American senior officials together with those from China, Russia, India, North Korea and other participants in the 27-member ARF grouping. …

The US-ASEAN Business Council, a body that involves as its members leading American corporations dealing with ASEAN, has also been a strong linkage between the US and ASEAN.

Comprehensive partnerships between the US and ASEAN, including the Enhanced Partnership announced in 2005, the ASEAN-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) signed in 2006, and the 2007 ASEAN Development Vision to Advance National Cooperation (ADVANCE) project have helped ASEAN countries strengthen and build capacity to relate more substantially with the global community, including the US.

The highlight of ASEAN-US relations thus far was accomplished by President Obama’s Administration, with the US’ accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) at the ARF ministerial meeting in 2009, and the first ASEAN-US Summit in Singapore in November 2009, allowing the President to meet all ten ASEAN heads of state/government. The ASEAN Plus Eight proposal now being considered provides a window for a regular frequency of such summits. The US also appointed the first Ambassador to ASEAN from a non-ASEAN country, following the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter.

To read the full article, download the newsletter here.

Ms. Moe Thuzar, ISEAS

The article was written by Ms. Moe Thuzar, Lead Researcher of Socio-Cultural Affairs at the ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS. Before joining the Centre, Ms. Thuzar headed the ASEAN Secretariat’s Human Development Unit. She has contributed to various ASEAN compendia and publications on social and human development. She served in Myanmar’s Foreign Service for ten years, and is now working on a review of Myanmar’s foreign policy.

ASEAN Matters for America / America Matters for ASEAN is a joint project of the East-West Center and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore, which demonstrates the thick and growing interconnections between Southeast Asia and the United States in economics, demographics, students and politics.