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Whoopi Woody

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WESTHILL CONSULTING REVIEWS a Conversation with First Resident U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN
Jun 3, 2013

In Asia editor Alma Freeman caught up with David Carden, the first resident U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN based in Jakarta, on a recent visit to The Asia Foundation in San Francisco, to discuss ASEAN connectivity, U.S.-ASEAN relations, and looking ahead to a 2015 ASEAN Economic Community. Read full interview below.

Last year marked The 35th Anniversary of ASEAN-U.S. Relations. How is the relationship now?

While it’s true that the U.S. has been engaged with ASEAN for over 35 years, it’s also true that it was in many respects a different ASEAN. Initially it was five countries, it’s now ten. It’s also true that in those early years the challenges facing ASEAN and the opportunities it had were different than they are now. As the organization has matured, there have been additional opportunities for dialogue partners such as the United States to engage and support, and that is something that is accelerating now fairly rapidly.

What message does it deliver to Southeast Asia that you are the first ever resident ambassador ASEAN?

I have been very well received in the region, and I have found no exception to that. So, I believe that what we are bringing to the regional conversation is thought to be desirable. The ASEANs are of course aware of the breadth of our engagement, even if the public is not. And they understand that the U.S. is a positive force for helping them manage some of the most difficult problems. And also, a positive force in helping them realize some of the opportunities that exist on the economic front, and managing health issues like pandemics and disasters.

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