May 12, 2022

Castro, Wagner, Meeks, Bera Introduce Bipartisan Resolution Supporting a Strong U.S.-ASEAN Partnership

WASHINGTON – Ahead of this week’s U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit, Representatives Joaquin Castro (TX-20) and Ann Wagner (MO-02), founding co-chairs of the U.S. Congressional Caucus on ASEAN, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks, and House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation Chairman Ami Bera (CA-07) introduced a bipartisan resolution yesterday reaffirming the commitment of the United States to remain a strong, reliable, and active partner to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“The Indo-Pacific is an increasingly important region for U.S. diplomacy, development, and security,” said Rep. Castro. “I’m encouraged to see the Biden administration’s success in engaging with our ASEAN partners on a range of critical issues, including pandemic recovery, climate resilience, democracy, and human rights. With this bipartisan resolution, we reaffirm our commitment to our friends and partners in Southeast Asia and build from our previous work to support a free and open Indo-Pacific.” 

“I remain committed to strengthening U.S. engagement in the Southeast Asia region,” said Rep. Wagner. “ASEAN countries are critical partners in advancing shared economic growth and safeguarding regional security, and the U.S. must recognize its long-term strategic interests in Southeast Asia. The U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit will help us counter China’s attempts to dominate the region, and it will also be an important step in laying out a comprehensive strategy for the whole region.  I appreciate Congressman Castro for partnering with me in this critical initiative.”

“The Biden Administration deserves credit for reemphasizing diplomacy and organizing this U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit,” said Rep. Meeks. “This is a region we ignore at our own peril given our shared challenges around climate change and the pandemic. Southeast Asia is not only an economic powerhouse, it is critical to our strategy for a free and open Indo-Pacific region. This resolution demonstrates our commitment to strengthening the strategic partnership with ASEAN and working with its member states to strengthen regional rules, economic integration, the protection of human rights, and security cooperation.”

“I applaud President Biden for hosting leaders of ASEAN in Washington, D.C. for the first-ever United States-ASEAN Special Summit,” said Rep. Bera. “This Special Summit comes at the 45th anniversary of our partnership and during a pivotal moment in the Indo-Pacific as we work together to confront traditional and nontraditional security threats such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing coup in Burma, the erosion of sovereignty and international norms in Southeast Asia, and regional challenges to economic freedom and prosperity. It is vital that we build even closer ties with our friends in Southeast Asia to address these challenges head on. I am proud to join Congressional foreign affairs leaders in introducing a resolution reaffirming the strong U.S. commitment to ASEAN, a vital partner in advancing peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific."

Among its provisions, the resolution: 

  • Highlights the strength of the United States-ASEAN relationship, including bilateral political, economic, security, and people-to-people ties;
  • Urges the United States-ASEAN Special Summit to prioritize good governance, the rule of law, and human rights, and pursue a robust economic agenda; 
  • Calls on the Biden administration to promptly nominate a qualified individual to serve as the Ambassador to ASEAN to facilitate diplomatic engagement with ASEAN countries, and to maintain continued commitment to high-level representation at the East Asia Summit and other ASEAN fora; and
  • Calls on ASEAN to reaffirm its commitment, consistent with the ASEAN Charter and Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, to the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, and to call for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine.

Full text of the resolution is available here.