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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Clinton Meets With Asean States Ahead of Regional Forum

“I understand that Asean faces a variety of challenges and even growing pains as it adapts and takes on new responsibilities.”

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened a US-Asean ministerial meeting in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, as international foreign ministers gather for a major regional security forum to open Thursday.


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shakes hands with US Ambassador to
 Cambodia William E. Todd upon arriving in Phnom Penh on Wednesday.
 Clinton touched down Wednesday between monsoon rainstorms. She delivered an address ahead of her meeting, saying she “strongly” supports Asean. The US has recently undertaken more engagement in Southeast Asia, where China’s influence continues to grow.

“I understand that Asean faces a variety of challenges and even growing pains as it adapts and takes on new responsibilities,” she said. “But I believe Asean plays an indispensable role in holding this region’s institutional architecture together and in advancing the common interest of all stakeholders in the Asia Pacific.

Many of those stakeholders have been meeting all week to try to reach an agreement on a code of conduct for the South China Sea, where overlapping claims by China, Vietnam and the Philippines are a major security issue for Asean.

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