From: Andrew BEATTY [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, February 15, 2016 4:58 PM
To: Gabriel, Brian
Subject: Pool report six - POTUS remarks
The pool was ushered in to the Great Room at Sunnyland’s visitors center where POTUS -- wearing a blue checked shirt, no tie, and a dark navy suit -- delivered remarks at the start of the ASEAN summit meeting.
The leaders sat around a ‘U’ shaped table, with Obama at its head. To his right was Choummaly Sayasone, President of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, to his left was the Sultan of Brunei. Behind him were Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice. To the side in the US delegation were Dan Kritenbrink and Danny Russel.
Two large lava stone walls bookended the room, which was designed by Michael Smith — who also designed the Obamas' private quarters at the White House.
The table looked on to the garden and beyond that snow-capped mount San Jacinto. In the garden -- just out of view from the table -- was the small red bench where Xi Jinping and Obama sat during their meeting at Sunnylands in 2013.
"It is my privilege to welcome you to this landmark gathering,” Obama began, hailing a “strong and enduring partnership.”
POTUS mentioned the several years he spent in Indonesia with his mother, and said he had always been warmly hosted in ASEAN countries.
In that spirit of warmth he said this meeting was not held in Washington. "It is cold there, it is snowing, so welcome to beautiful, warm Sunnylands.” — please note the “beautiful” which your pooler only heard on the recording.
POTUS described the rational behind his pivot — now called a rebalance — to Asia.
"As president I’ve insisted that even as the United States confronts urgent threats around the world, our foreign policy also has to seize on new opportunities, and few regions present more opportunity in the 21st century than the Asia-Pacific.”
“That is why early in my presidency I decided that the United States, as a Pacific nation, would rebalance our foreign policy and play a larger and long term role in the Asia-Pacific.”
He said all the countries in the region had a “shared goal of building a regional order were all nations play by the same rules.”
He said “sustained engagement is bringing concrete results,” citing trade flows among other things.
Turning to the hot-button issue of security he said: "We can also continue to increase our security cooperation to meet shared challenges, in recent years the United States has increased our maritime security assistance to our allies and partners in the region, improving our mutual capabilities to protect lawful commerce and respond to humanitarian crisis.”
“Here, at this summit, we can advance our shared vision of regional order were international rules and norms, including freedom of navigation, are upheld, and were disputes are resolved through peaceful legal means.”
“Together we can continue to support the aspirations and dignity of our citizens,” he said, citing recent elections in Myanmar.
Turning to TPP, he said that by joining “Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei had committed to high labor and environmental standards.”
Summing up, he said, “economic growth that is inclusive, creating opportunities for all, mutual security and peaceful resolution of disputes, human dignity, including respect for human rights and development that is sustainable, that is our vision, that is what brings us here, together, today."
President Chummily then spoke. He offered condolences on the death of Supreme Court Justice Scalia — to which Obama gave a slight nod of appreciation.
The pool was ushered out of the room.