Briefing in Bali, Indonesia
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: All right. Today, we had a series of bilateral meetings, and we also had our first meeting of the East Asia Summit foreign ministers as we prepared the way for President Obama’s entry in November to the East Asia Summit. We also had this evening the meeting of the Lower Mekong Initiative, and also then the first-ever meeting of the Friends of the Lower Mekong, which is a series of countries, international financial institutions, and multilateral development banks who are committed to supporting a broad range of projects along the Mekong.
The substantial news out of that meeting was, after some extensive discussions with the key countries, Laos has announced today that they will continue their suspension of any dam-building activities, and that’s a major achievement. And the Secretary and all the key players in the meetings commended the Laotians for taking such a forward-leaning position. And of course, we will do a series of projects with them to try to determine what would be the consequences of a structure on the stem of the Lower Mekong.
In addition to these multilateral meetings, we also had an extensive bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Yang this morning, a session with the Vietnamese foreign minister, and also a meeting during lunch with Foreign Minister Rudd.
All told, the primary areas of discussion were on North-South dialogue, on next steps with regard to the South China Sea, and overall plans for the United States to step up its diplomacy. And with Kevin Rudd, we discussed our force posture review and efforts on the part of the United States to further distribute U.S. forces in the Asia Pacific region.