WASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — On July 23, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton signed the Third Protocol of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia along with the ten ASEAN member countries. The Third Protocol will permit regional organizations whose members are sovereign states to accede to the TAC, enabling the European Union (EU) to become a Contracting Party to the Treaty.

Last year, Secretary Clinton signed the United States’ Instrument of Accession to the Treaty of Amity of Cooperation in Southeast Asia during the 2009 ASEAN ministerial meetings in Thailand. Among other things, parties to the Treaty pledge to promote perpetual peace and everlasting amity as well as to cooperate in economic, social, cultural, technical, and scientific fields.

U.S. accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia has enhanced U.S. efforts in deepening engagement with ASEAN and demonstrates the Administration’s initiative to have a strong and productive presence in Southeast Asia. The United States seeks to be a partner in regional institution-building. Acceding to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia further strengthen our ties in Asia.

The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia was signed by the original members of ASEAN in 1976. All ASEAN members have since become parties to the Treaty. In 1987, ASEAN amended the Treaty to invite countries outside of Southeast Asia to accede to the Treaty in order to build confidence, promote peace and security, and facilitate economic cooperation in the region. To date, 26 countries have acceded to the Treaty.

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