Obama tells ASEAN nations region needs 'unified voice' to prosper

Barack Obama
Barack Obama | Contributed photo

President Obama and the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met this week in Rancho Mirage, California, to discuss their allegiance to international codes and rights.

ASEAN's membership consists of Burma, Brunei, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

The leaders met to discuss issues such as China's militaristic moves in the South China Sea. Obama reiterated to the nations of ASEAN that the U.S. would continue to fly and sail wherever international law allowed and that the other ASEAN nations should recognize and exercise their legal authority as well. Obama also said ASEAN nations should resolve any issues peacefully, following whatever maritime laws come forth from the U.N. Convention of the Law of the Seas.

Obama continually spoke of the need for ASEAN to respect each other and unify.

 “When ASEAN speaks with a clear, unified voice, it can help advance security, opportunity and human dignity, not only for the more than 600 million people across ASEAN, but for people across the Asia-Pacific and around the world," Obama said.

At the same meeting, Obama was questioned by reporters about the ongoing fight against ISIL, specifically in Libya. Obama said the U.S., the United Nations and other countries are continually working to get a government set up in Libya. Obama also said the U.S. will continue to fight ISIL wherever it shows up.

“We will continue to take actions where we’ve got a clear operation and a clear target in mind, and we are working with our other coalition partners to make sure that, as we see opportunities to prevent (ISIL) from digging in in Libya, we take them."

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