“The nations of Southeast Asia are and will remain a central focus of America’s rebalance to Asia,” said U.S. National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice in remarks today at a Brookings event to launch the Lee Kuan Yew Chair in Southeast Asia Studies at Brookings. Following an address by Singapore’s Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam, Ambassador Rice spoke of the U.S. commitment to economic prosperity, trade, security, cross-border threats, and democracy throughout the region.
Watch her remarks, from 37:30 to 51:05:
Speaking of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement currently in negotiations, Amb. Rice said:
Southeast Asia and its markets are critical to American prosperity. Together ASEAN comprises the seventh largest economy in the world, and the fourth largest trading partner for the United States. ASEAN nations draw more U.S. investment than any single country in Asia. And with some of the fastest growing economies in the world, ASEAN will only become more important to our economic future.
That’s why we are committed to completing the Transpacific Partnership. One third of TPP participants are from ASEAN, including members like Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia, for whom the high standard agreement means making serious new commitments. But this agreement will deliver tremendous benefits to all our economics and we’re committed to helping our partners meet TPP’s requirements and realizing the opportunities for greater trade and investment that come with it.
“[T]he United States’ commitment to Asia and to Southeast Asia in particular remains a top priority,” she said at the conclusion of her remarks. “The United States is a Pacific Nation. Our shared future is as certain as our shared past.”
Joseph Chinyong Liow—a Brookings senior fellow and first holder of the Lee Kuan Yew Chair in Southeast Asia Studies—and Richard Bush—director of the Center for East Asia Policy Studies and holder of the Chen-Fu and Cecilia Yen Koo Chair in Taiwan Studies—also spoke at the event. Learn more and get full audio here.