Thank you. Thank you very much. This is a wonderful day for the United States, and it is fitting that we meet here in Thailand for this important ASEAN ministerial. Now in February 1976, the five original nations of ASEAN, including Thailand, met in Indonesia in Bali to sign the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. And that agreement had a very noble purpose: To promote perpetual peace, everlasting amity and cooperation among their peoples, which would contribute to the strength, solidarity and closer relationship among them.
Since then, 25 nations have entered the treaty. Now it has taken many years for the United States to reach this point; but today, at long last, I am honored to sign on behalf of the American people. The original signers of the treaty recognize that the challenges they faced were so great that the only way to solve them was together. Well, the same is true today. Indeed, some of the goals outlined in the treaty -- such as ending violent conflict, improving agriculture, advancing economic development -- are goals that we are still striving to achieve. And in the spirit of this treaty, the United States is committed to working toward those goals and the other ones that have been adopted by ASEAN through partnership as part of our commitment to Southeast Asia.
Amity, as we know, does not mean absolute agreement. There have been times in the past when we have disagreed, and there are sure to be more in the future. But this treaty reflects our commitment to an honest and open dialogue to help us navigate our differences and reach consensus whenever possible.
The treaty makes official the bonds of family and friendship that have long existed between our nations. So on this historic occasion, we will build on that past, while looking ahead to a more peaceful, progressive, and prosperous future for the nations of ASEAN and for the United States and, through our cooperation and partnership, the greater region and the world.
So thank you very much for this opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to this important relationship. (Applause.)
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