First ASEAN-US Summit in California

Feb. 15 President Barack Obama told on opening ceremony that "The United States will play a larger and long-term role in the Southeast Asian region and ASEAN". In November 2015, during an ASEAN summit in Malaysia, Obama announced that U.S.-ASEAN ties would be upgraded to the level of a "strategic partnership."

Questions discussed

Аgenda of summit: maritime security and South China Sea disputes; Islamic State radicals and extremism; North Korea's nuclear program and recent missile test; and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, entrepreneurship and innovation. All issues are interests of US foreign policy.


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a 10-member organization, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. ASEAN member states have a total population of 600 million — more than the European Union, which covers about 500 million people. The U.S. and the 10 ASEAN nations traded $254 billion in goods and services in 2014 — about 8% of all American trade, or the equivalent of about half the U.S. trade volume with China.

Double standarts again?

Human rights organizations and civil society organizations have raised serious concerns about Obama's decision to host a number of the ASEAN leaders on U.S. soil. Among those drawing concern are Hun Sen of Cambodia, who has ruled for decades; Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung of Vietnam and President Choummali Saignason of Laos, both communist leaders of one-party states; and Hassanal Bolkiah, the sultan of Brunei, who has moved to impose sharia, or Islamic law.