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Address to the ASEAN-UN Ministerial Meeting

New York, 28 September 2012

Mr. Chairman,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Dear Ministers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored to speak before the ASEAN-UN Ministerial Meeting.

I would like to thank Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia, H.E. Mr. Hor Namhong, for the invitation, and congratulate him on successfully chairing this Organization.

Close to a year ago, the UN and ASEAN issued a Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Partnership, setting the stage for concrete and active cooperation between our respective organizations. I fully concur with the Secretary-General’s views, and I will work with him on moving our shared agenda forward.

For my part, I would like to focus on two issues where I believe the General Assembly and ASEAN can engage more fully.  

The first issue that can help strengthen our partnership is best practices. Your organization has become a model for how national development strategies can be enhanced through regional integration.

Since its inception 45 years ago, ASEAN has evolved into one of the globe’s most important and most effective inter-governmental organizations. The landmark 1976 Treaty of Amity and Cooperation set the stage for the consolidation of peace and security in Southeast Asia. Subsequent instruments established free trade between your member countries; promoted economic integration; advanced disarmament, arms control and nuclear safety efforts; strengthened good governance and the rule of law; protected human rights and social justice; and created a liberalized, open investment environment.

I believe a number of UN Member States and regional organizations could benefit from your knowledge and experience in constructing what Foreign Minister Shanmugam of Singapore recently called “an enduring sense of regional fraternity grounded in national awareness.”

I look forward to consulting with you on how the General Assembly could play a role in such a discussion.

The second issue I believe can bring us closer together is how to make global economic governance more inclusive and transparent.

In my opinion, your presence at a number of G-20 meetings, including the annual Summit of Heads of State or Government is very helpful to the General Assembly. It will enable ASEAN countries to make particularly valuable contributions to the informal meetings of the General Assembly I will convene before and after major G-20 events, as recent PGAs have done for the past several years.

My view is that international standard-setting is best undertaken in organizations with universal reach, which is why I think the UN should remain a cornerstone of global economic governance.

Of course, the G-20 together with IFIs such as the IMF and the World Bank play critical roles. But I think the General Assembly should be more engaged in helping to shape the material destiny of our planet.

One way forward would be to have the G-20 regularize its interactions with the General Assembly.

To that end, I have proposed to launch a process leading to the establishment of an effective consultative framework between the General Assembly and international financial and trade institutions, as well as groupings such as the G-20.

I have already discussed this idea with a number of statesmen on the margins of the General Debate.

I have also sought advice from my friend Nur Hussan Wirajuda, Indonesia’s former Foreign Minister. I am humbled by the fact that he has agreed to be a part of the High-Level Informal Advisory Panel I have established to provide guidance over the course of the 67th Session.

I expect to work very closely with ASEAN countries on this important item of our shared agenda.


In an increasingly combustible world, ASEAN remains a globalization success story. It is today what His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk, the King-Father of Cambodia, once said he hoped Southeast Asia could become a “bastion of peace” worthy of being emulated.

That time has finally come.

I believe both ASEAN and the United Nations can greatly benefit from the Comprehensive Partnership we have adopted and have begun to implement. As President of the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN, I want you to know you can count on me to engage with you in any way I can.

Thank you for your attention.



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