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U.S. wants close ties with ASEAN in politics, economics

(Xinhua)

08:23, July 12, 2012

PHNOM PENH, July 11 (Xinhua) -- The United States is committed to strengthening and expanding political and economic relations and cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ( ASEAN), the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said here Wednesday.

Speaking in the opening remarks of the 4th ASEAN-U.S. Post Ministerial Conference, Clinton said that the Obama administration has elevated engagement across Asia as a strategic priority of the U.S. foreign policy.

"A central pillar of that policy is to work more closely with ASEAN in order to deepen our economics, strategies and people to people engagement," she said.

"As the Secretary of State, I strongly support ASEAN. I believe that ASEAN plays an indispensable role in holding this region to prosperity," she said.

She added that the U.S. has a great bearing on the future effectiveness of the ASEAN and works with ASEAN on the issues that are central importance to the United States ranging from maritime security to economic growth.

"We have more investment in ASEAN than we have in China--that is surprising fact," she said. "On the economic front, there is much more room for us still to grow together, so we are working to fasten the economic gap in very tangible ways."

She said the ASEAN-U.S. Business Forum, which will be held in Siem Reap province on Friday, will lay a ground work for economic connection and mutual prosperity for a warm time to come.

The 4th ASEAN-U.S. Post Ministerial Conference was attended by all ASEAN Foreign Ministers.

Hillary arrived here on Wednesday afternoon for ASEAN meetings, which will last until July 13.

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