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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

U.S.-ASEAN Regional Forum Cooperation

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Bali, Indonesia
July 24, 2011


The United States is committed to playing a role in shaping regional institutions to ensure peace, security, and prosperity in Asia and the Pacific. A major part of this effort is our cooperation with the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which focuses on important security issues, including counterterrorism and transnational crime, disaster relief, maritime security, nonproliferation and disarmament, and preventative diplomacy.

Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR): The United States works with the other 27 ARF countries to improve regional cooperation in preparing for and responding to disasters in the region. Elements of U.S. HADR cooperation include:

  • The United States has committed to support the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management, which will begin operations later this year. The center will serve as the hub for a regional tsunami early warning system and an earthquake information center, both frequent problems in the region.
  • The United States participated in ARF’s second Disaster Exercise in Manado, Indonesia, in March, along with 18 other member countries and over 4,000 personnel. We promote future exercises as a regular component of the ARF agenda to strengthen regional cooperation and improve disaster response.
  • Fifteen ARF members, including the United States endorsed the Asia-Pacific Regional Guidelines for the Use of Foreign Military Assets in Natural Disaster Response Operations in October 2010. These guidelines provide a framework for disaster preparedness and response, define the roles of civilian and military organizations, and help set regional disaster response norms, improving disaster response.

Maritime Security: With many of the world’s busiest ports and most critical sea lines of communication, maritime security is a vital issue for the Asia-Pacific region. The United States has worked with other ARF members to prioritize maritime security.

  • United States intervention at the 2010 ARF Ministerial contributed to reinforcing maritime laws and norms. ARF continues addressing this issue through other ARF meetings and legal seminars on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
  • The United States looks forward to sharing leadership with South Korea and Indonesia at the next ARF Intersessional Meeting on Maritime Security.

Nonproliferation: The ARF is an important venue for multilateral cooperation on nonproliferation issues in East Asia. ARF efforts on nonproliferation include:

  • The United States, China, and Singapore co-chaired the ARF Intersessional Meeting on Nonproliferation and Disarmament, a meeting that concluded a three year effort to promote balance among the three pillars of the nuclear nonproliferation regime.
  • The ARF provides a forum to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs, a concern we share with other ARF members.

Transnational Crime: Transnational crime is an area of growing concern in the Asia-Pacific region and we believe that the ARF can take concrete steps to help address this challenge.

  • The United States has proposed the creation of an ARF Transnational Threat Information Sharing Center (ATTIC) that would employ and extend existing information sharing mechanisms that specialize in information sharing and capacity building.

Preventative Diplomacy: The ARF members have committed to prevent disputes and conflicts among states that could potentially pose a threat to regional peace and stability; to prevent such disputes and conflicts from escalating into armed confrontation; and to minimize the impact of such disputes and conflicts on the region.

  • To support this effort, the United States has funded the activities of the ARF Experts and Eminent Persons Group as nongovernment mechanism to promote regional discussions on approaches to preventative diplomacy.
  • The United States provides an annual submission to the ARF Security Outlook, fully outlining U.S. military assets, policies, and priorities, to encourage full transparency in military resources and strategy among ARF members.

PRN: 2011/T51-36

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