Strengthening US Relations with ASEAN: A Critical Element of the US Indo-Pacific Strategy

by East-West Center

East-West Wire

Publisher: Honolulu, HI: East-West Center
Publication Date: 4 October 2019
Binding: electronic
Pages: 2
Free Download: PDF


With a population of 650 million and an annual GDP of $2.8 trillion, ASEAN is a key component of the US Indo-Pacific Strategy. Two visitors to the East-West Center, Kavi Chongkittavorn and Anu Anwar, emphasized that the United States needs to take several steps to strengthen working relations with ASEAN. Priorities for the Trump administration include:

  • Attend the annual ASEAN-sponsored East Asia Summit
  • Establish personal rapport with ASEAN leaders
  • Participate actively in all ASEAN-led mechanisms, including the ASEAN Regional Forum, the ASEAN Defense Ministerial Meeting Plus, and the Lower Mekong Initiative
  • Appoint an American envoy to ASEAN, a position that has been vacant for more than 30 months
  • Maintain the ASEAN-focused programs and activities initiated under previous US administrations
  • Expand educational, cultural, and youth programs
  • Strengthen the US-ASEAN security commitment, in particular maritime and cyber security