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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  (In progress.) – from Asia, good evening.  Thank you all for being willing to meet on short notice in this hybrid format.  It’s very good to see colleagues here in New York, but also to see all of you on the screen.  And thank you very much to Foreign Minister Erywan for Brunei’s chairmanship and to Foreign Minister Retno for co-chairing this session with us today.

Before turning to today’s conversation, I just want to thank many of the countries represented here for the help that you provided with the evacuation and relocation effort in Afghanistan.  We’re grateful for the partnership, especially to all those who have condemned violence, called for the safe passage of those seeking to depart.

Even as we face challenges in other parts of the world, the United States’ commitment to ASEAN remains strong.  ASEAN is central to the architecture of the Indo-Pacific region and it’s critical to our own stability, economic opportunity, and vision for a rules-based international order.  We continue to support the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.  We believe our support for ASEAN is very much in line with the AOIP’s four priority areas of cooperation.

This fall, the United States will release our new, comprehensive Indo-Pacific Strategy.  It builds on our shared vision for a free, open, interconnected, resilient, and secure region.  Similar to ASEAN’s outlook, it will reflect Southeast Asia’s importance to the Indo-Pacific region, and the critical role that ASEAN plays in determining the region’s future.

So I was very much looking forward to today’s discussion, very good to see everyone here, and very happy to get started.

U.S. Department of State

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