WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Brian Schatz (D- Hawai‘i), Mazie Hirono (D- Hawai‘i), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), introduced a resolution welcoming the U.S.-ASEAN Summit at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, Calif. on February 15-16, 2016. This summit will provide leaders a forum to strengthen cooperation under the new U.S.-ASEAN strategic partnership.
"The U.S.-ASEAN relationship is one of our most significant and important strategic partnerships," said Senator Cardin. “Strong and vibrant ties between the United States and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations touch on virtually every issue of importance for U.S. security and prosperity in the 21st century. The 10 member states of ASEAN span more than 1.7 million square miles—over half the size of the continental United States—and include a population of over 626 million people with an economy valued at about $2.5 trillion. The initiative undertaken by President Obama to host this first ever U.S.-ASEAN Summit at Sunnylands represents a significant step-forward in deepening this partnership. Our senate resolution speaks to these areas for cooperation and deeper ties – from maritime security to innovation, from climate change to good governance and human rights – and to the importance of bipartisan support and executive-legislative cooperation to further advance the ‘rebalance’ to the Asia-Pacific.”
In particular, the resolution:
• Welcomes the leaders of ASEAN to the special U.S.-ASEAN summit at Sunnylands, California and supports the elevation of the relationship to a strategic partnership;
• Reaffirms U.S.-ASEAN cooperation on economic engagement, development programs, people-to-people exchanges, health security, transnational cyber issues, counter-terrorism, the environment and maritime security capacity building;
• Supports efforts by ASEAN to address maritime and territorial disputes through collaborative diplomacy, including international arbitration, and in accordance with international law and institutions;
• Urges the promotion and protection of human rights in ASEAN by creating regional mechanisms to halt human smuggling and trafficking, support refugees and migrants, engage with civil society leaders and release political prisoners and ending politically motivated prosecutions.
The full text of the resolution can be found here.