Story by William Selby, Defense Media Activity
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will travel to Honolulu in April to host the 2014 Association of Southeast Asian Nations before departing for Japan, China and Mongolia. The ASEAN member states include Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The Secretary invited his ASEAN counterparts to the U.S. when he was in Singapore last June, attending the Shangri-La Dialogue meeting. During the meeting, all 10 ministers accepted his invitation. This trip will mark the first time ASEAN has ever been held on U.S. soil. Additionally, this will be Hagel’s first time travelling to China as defense secretary.
Among the topics he is expected to discuss:
- Make clear the Defense Department’s newly released defense strategy and budget fully supports rebalance/shift of forces and the continuation of new capabilities to the region.
- Demonstrate U.S. support to ASEAN with regard to helping it grow as a security organization, emphasizing the critical importance of humanitarian and disaster relief efforts.
- Highlight our comprehensive approach to the region – economics, diplomacy, development, culture and security are all interlinked.
During his trip, Secretary Hagel will meet with U.S. service members stationed in the region including stops aboard the USS Anchorage, and a tour of Hickam Air Force Base.