Suntec Convention Centre
Suntec City, Singapore
November 14, 2018
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Your Majesty, your excellencies, it is my honor to join you all here at the 6th Summit between the United States of America and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Last year, President Trump attended this summit to share our nation’s vision of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” And I am here on the President’s behalf to discuss our progress in making this vision a reality.
I spoke just a few moments ago with the President and he asked me to convey his regards and greetings and appreciation to each of you.
Our message is simple: The United States’ commitment to the Indo-Pacific is steadfast and enduring. In all that we do, the United States seeks collaboration, not control. And we are proud to call ASEAN our strategic partner.
Fifty-one years ago, five of your nations joined together “in the spirit of equality and partnership” to “contribute towards peace, progress, and prosperity in [this] region.” And today, this body represents 10 nations of Southeast Asia, and the United States has stood with you now for more than four decades.
ASEAN is central to our vision for the region; it is our indispensable and irreplaceable strategic partner. And the members of ASEAN should have no other view. We recognize that our interests are intertwined and our visions are truly the same.
Like you, we seek an Indo-Pacific in which all nations, large and small, can prosper and thrive — secure in sovereignty, confident in our values, and growing stronger together. We all agree that empire and aggression have no place in the Indo-Pacific.
The United States has taken decisive action to promote this vision across the region. And with a focus on prosperity, security, and shared principles, we will continue to work with each of you to advance this vision across the Indo-Pacific. And I look forward to discussing those steps with you today.
They include the actions we’ve taken to spur greater private investment in infrastructure across the region, and our bold pursuit of trade that, as President Trump describes, “is free, fair, and reciprocal.” And we will continue to work toward forging renewed relationships for trade and economic exchange on the basis of those principles.
Our partnership also includes our pressure campaign regarding North Korea; our collaboration to rid the region of terrorism; our commitment to uphold the freedom of the seas and skies, where we stand shoulder to shoulder with you for freedom of navigation; and our determination to ensure that your nations are secure in your sovereign borders on land, at sea, and in the digital world. All of these are examples of our commitment to partnership, and in each case we believe that we’ve made significant progress and will continue to make significant progress together.
These actions also include our renewed efforts to uphold our most cherished principles: accountable and responsive government, the rule of law, and individual rights. We know these are the bulwarks of sovereignty and the building blocks of progress, and we support their spread across the Indo-Pacific.
To facilitate our dialogue, it is my privilege to announce, this morning, the new U.S.-ASEAN Smart Cities partnership. This effort will spur renewed American investment in the region’s digital infrastructure, advancing prosperity and security in Southeast Asia. And it also bears on the cybersecurity statement that we will discuss here today.
I look forward to sharing more with you about the progress that we’ve made and the work that we have yet to do, but I’ll save that for our discussions going forward.
Let me be clear though, our vision for the Indo-Pacific excludes no nation. It only requires that every nation treat their neighbors with respect; they respect the sovereignty of our nations and the international rules of order. We believe this vision offers the Indo-Pacific a bright and boundless future.
In that future, we’re confident that as we work together on our shared principles, on our shared interests, our commitment to prosperity and security, that we will prosper together. We will be secure together. We will continue to grow closer together as partners and as friends in a free and open Indo-Pacific.
So, once again, on behalf of President Donald Trump, I thank you for the honor of joining each of you today to express our enduring commitment to the Indo-Pacific and our gratitude for the strong and historic partnership between the United States and ASEAN, and I look forward very much to our discussions.