During an interview with ANTARA on Friday in Jakarta, the ambassador affirmed that the US-ASEAN partnership, which has been running for 45 years, is based on shared values and principles, such as the international system of laws, agreements, and regulations, as well as the protection of the sovereign rights of nations.
"We've been grateful to work with ASEAN to promote, defend, and enhance that rules-based international system of laws, agreements, and principles. And we look forward to finding opportunities to do so in the future," he said, emphasizing the United States affirmative and positive agenda with ASEAN when asked about China's growing presence in the Indo-Pacific.
ASEAN develops relations, dialogue, cooperation, and partnerships with countries and sub-regional, regional, and international organizations and institutions. The US began engaging with ASEAN as a dialogue partner in 1977.
Southeast Asia is an important and dynamic region, Abraham said. It has a central role in supporting the stability of the Indo-Pacific. Therefore, he added that the US will always work with and through ASEAN to create a peaceful, prosperous, and stable region.
"It is in the US' national interest to see ASEAN prosperous, see it independent, resilient, and we want to work with ASEAN for all of our shared benefits," he said.
The Indo-Pacific is the world's fastest-growing region, accounting for 65 percent of the global economy. With half of the world's population residing in the area, it has been the target of struggles of influence by the world's powers.
During the 42nd Summit in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, on May 11, 2023, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said that ASEAN nations must work together to ease rising tensions in the Indo-Pacific region.
According to Widodo, one way to reduce regional tensions is by implementing the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).
The outlook prioritizes open, inclusive dialogue and cooperation instead of competition and rivalry. Through the outlook, ASEAN has affirmed that it will not bandwagon with any great powers and will continue to maintain peace in the Indo-Pacific region.
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