Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed H. Res. 311, legislation that recognizes the work of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) toward stability, prosperity, and peace in Southeast Asia. 

On the House floor this week, Chairman Royce delivered the following remarks (as prepared for delivery):

“I want to recognize Congressman Joaquin Castro and Congresswoman Ann Wagner for authoring this timely measure an on important, but often overlooked part of the world: Southeast Asia.

Mr. Speaker, Southeast Asian nations came together fifty years ago to promote regional cooperation for the goal of achieving greater stability, peace, and prosperity in their region by creating the Association of Southeast Asians Nations, or ASEAN.  This year marks ASEAN’s fiftieth anniversary, and the fortieth anniversary of relations between the U.S. and ASEAN. 

This year, President Trump will visit the region for the first time in November for the East Asia and ASEAN summits in the Philippines, and the APEC Leaders Meeting in Vietnam.

Today, ASEAN is a force for peace and prosperity in the world, and the relationship the U.S. has with ASEAN has benefitted both sides diplomatically, economically, and in global security.

ASEAN is the fourth-largest goods export market for the United States, and we are ASEAN’s fourth-largest trading partner. As the second fastest growing economy in Asia with a combined economy of $2.5 trillion and healthy demographic trendlines, the importance of ASEAN as a market for the U.S. is considerable. 

Mr. Speaker, we are working with ASEAN to address security challenges and threats, especially in the fight against terrorism with the recognition now of the emergence of ISIS forces in the region.  Last month, Secretary of State Tillerson voiced support for increased cooperation on border security, information sharing to track individuals, and routing out terror-financing networks and safe havens.

With so many challenges in the region today as we look at the democratic backsliding in Cambodia, and the plight of the Rohingya in Burma, it is more important than ever that we engage Southeast Asian nations and ASEANto solve regional problems.

We must also cooperate with ASEAN on the threat of North Korea and have better coordination of maritime activities with regard to security, environmental impact, and border and fishing regulations.

For all of these reasons, today, the House of Representatives reaffirms the importance of the U.S.-ASEAN partnership, and recommits to continuing engagement and cooperation with ASEAN. 

Passage of this resolution demonstrates our support for ASEAN as an institution and the United States’ strategic relationship with Southeast Asian nations.

I urge my colleagues to join me in support of this measure.”