Remarks in Cambodia

Kurt M. Campbell
   Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
David L. Carden
   U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
February 3, 2012

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I’ll just make a very quick statement. First of all, just good afternoon. I am joined here with our Ambassador to ASEAN, David Carden. He’ll have a few words to say as well. First of all, let me just say it’s wonderful to be back in Cambodia. We had a very warm welcome from the Foreign Minister. We passed on our very best wishes from the United States. We had a chance to review our bilateral cooperation, which is outstanding. We work well together in so many ways, and David and I came to Cambodia to commit fully to supporting this historic Cambodian leadership of the important ASEAN events this year – the ASEAN Regional Forum in July, the East Asia Summit. And we confirmed today that we will also be holding a fourth U.S.-ASEAN summit in October, excuse me, in November during the East Asia Summit proceedings.

We believe that the opportunities for cooperation on so many issues -- the United States is deeply supportive of the connectivity initiative that ASEAN has initiated. We are looking forward to bringing a strong business delegation this summer to ASEAN. We are closely following all the preparatory works and we wanted to meet with the Minister to commit to attending and supporting all the senior official meetings that will be taking place over the course of the coming months.

I simply want to say that I believe that Cambodia’s role in so many ways is important this year. I think they can play a key role in helping bring China and ASEAN together towards progress on the South China Sea issues, that will be of interest to all parties. I believe that they will be able to work closely on some economic initiatives that will bring ASEAN closer together with the goal towards the 2015 community that the organization aspires to. And I believe that Cambodia will help us identify clearly the role for the friends of ASEAN countries, like the United States and others, and how we can better support ASEAN unity, development, peace, and prosperity. I look forward to visiting Cambodia many times in the months ahead as we prepare for our leaders to come to Cambodia later this year. David…

AMBASSADOR CARDEN: Well, hello everyone. I’ve seen some of your before. It’s good to be back in Cambodia. I think this is my fourth trip and other people in our Mission have been here on other occasions. This is the 35th anniversary of U.S. engagement with ASEAN and we hope to have a celebration this year recognizing that, so that’s 35 years of the United States supporting ASEAN and its ambitions. This is, I think, the second time that Cambodia has assumed the chairmanship and this affords us a wonderful opportunity to provide what assistance we can working with other dialogue partners – our dialogue partner friends – to try to make this a successful year. There are many things which Cambodia can show, I think, real leadership on and we look forward to supporting it in every way possible. You will see much more of me this year. It’s my aspiration to be here as often as I can be and I look forward to talking to you again. Thank you.