On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I join the 620 million people of the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in marking the 47th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN on August 8.
So much of the history of the 21st century will be written in Asia, and the longest chapters of that history will be driven by what happens in Southeast Asia. That's why our engagement in this strategically vital region is constant and comprehensive.
In the coming days, I'll be joining ASEAN ministers in Naypyidaw for in-depth discussions on economic integration, environmental cooperation, and regional security. ASEAN plays a central role in supporting peace and prosperity in Asia, and the ASEAN Way has come to represent strength, resilience, harmony, and unity. It's a reminder that ASEAN's transformation from regional organization to global leader isn't just possible. It's powerful, and it's real.
Since the United States began its dialogue with ASEAN almost 37 years ago, our relationship has developed into a mature partnership. We're taking on big challenges and seizing even bigger opportunities -- from maritime security and transnational crime, to humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, economic engagement, clean energy, education, people-to-people exchanges, rule of law, and development in the Lower Mekong sub-region. And that's just some of what makes our partnership one of the most exciting and promising on the planet.
The United States celebrates the anniversary of the founding of ASEAN, and we look forward to strengthening our partnership in the region and across the globe.