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Remarks By President Obama and President Triet Of Vietnam at Opening Of U.S.-ASEAN Leaders Meeting

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Location: New York, NY

Waldorf Astoria Hotel

THE PRESIDENT: Well, good afternoon, everyone. To all the leaders who are here as well as the delegations, welcome. I want to thank my fellow leaders for being here and for making this the first U.S.-ASEAN leaders meeting to take place in the United States. This reflects ASEAN's growing importance and the unprecedented cooperation between ASEAN and the United States.

As a Pacific nation, the United States has an enormous stake in the people and the future of Asia. The region is home to some of our largest trading partners and buys many of our exports, supporting millions of American jobs. We need partnerships with Asian nations to meet the challenges of growing our economy, preventing proliferation and addressing climate change.

As President, I've, therefore, made it clear that the United States intends to play a leadership role in Asia. So we've strengthened old alliances; we've deepened new partnerships, as we are doing with China; and we've reengaged with regional organizations, including ASEAN.

Last year in Singapore, I was proud to become the first American President to meet with all 10 ASEAN leaders. Today, I'm pleased to host our second meeting as we elevate our partnership to meet the shared challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

We'll focus on creating sustainable economic growth. Our trade with ASEAN countries is growing. In fact, America exports -- American exports to ASEAN countries are growing twice as fast as they are to other regions, so Southeast Asia will be important to reaching my goal of doubling American exports.

Through APEC and initiatives like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we're pursuing trade relationships that benefit all our countries. And we will continue to support ASEAN's goal of creating a more effective and integrated community by 2015, which would advance regional peace and stability.

We'll also focus on deepening our political and security cooperation. ASEAN countries are increasingly playing a leadership role in the region, and ASEAN itself has the potential to be a very positive force in global affairs. That is why the United States has accepted ASEAN's invitation to join the East Asia summit, which will help us meet regional and global challenges together. And I look forward to attending the East Asia Summit in Jakarta next year.

So, again, I want to thank my fellow leaders for being here. And I look forward to sustaining our momentum on my visits in November to Indonesia, Korea and Japan, where we'll work together at the APEC summit to ensure strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth.

With that, I'd invite President Triet of Vietnam, the ASEAN chair this past year, to offer a few words as well. And during that time, I suspect that lunch will be served.

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