Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Report Tackles Changing Security and Economic Landscape in Asia-Pacific Region
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Report Tackles Changing Security and Economic Landscape in Asia-Pacific Region

Washington, D.C. — President Barack Obama’s visit to Asia last week is another example of the administration’s commitment to updating and deepening U.S. engagement in the most dynamic region on the planet. The Center for American Progress has released a report today outlining the important role that Asia’s regional institutions must play in addressing security challenges, and recommendations that the next administration could spearhead in to strengthen regional institutions.

“The president has made strengthening U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific one of the most important aspects of his foreign policy,” said Michael Fuchs, CAP Senior Fellow and coauthor of the report. “Over the course of President Obama’s administration, the United States has deepened security cooperation with long-standing allies and fostered strong partnerships with key emerging partners. The next administration has an opportunity to build on of these successes and set clear priorities to make existing institutions more effective in advancing U.S. goals.”

The recommendations made by CAP include:

  • Make the East Asia Summit the regional center of gravity. The East Asia Summit is the only annual meeting of all the critical Asia-Pacific countries focused on security issues that is attended by leaders. By changing the format and giving the institution more authority to tackle pressing challenges, the East Asia Summit could be a more solutions-oriented forum that focuses on setting policy guidelines for the region and less a rote recitation of short, scripted remarks by leaders.
  • Attend everything. Showing up matters, and the United States must ensure that from the president on down to the working level it shows up at all of the region’s key multilateral meetings, whether they are discussing key security issues, economics, health, or any other issues. Being a consistent presence at these meetings shows U.S. leadership and ensures that the United States can shape regional policies and institutions.
  • Prioritize cooperation with China in regional institutions. The U.S.-China relationship is often the elephant in the room during regional forums. While the United States must continue to use multilateral institutions to encourage China to live up to international rules and norms, one way this tension can be mitigated is by finding ways to use institutions like the EAS to find areas of cooperation with China. These efforts can strengthen U.S.-China relations and show the region that the two countries have a strong, stable relationship.

Click here to read the report.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at [email protected] or 202.481.7141.