From: Nelson, Colleen [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Saturday, November 21, 2015 07:45 PM
To: Barnes, Desiree N. EOP/WHO
Subject: Travel Pool #8 -- US-ASEAN opening remarks
The pool joined the U.S-ASEAN summit opening session already in progress. The leaders were seated at large tables arranged in a square. President Obama and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib were seated on opposite sides, directly across from one another.
Najib was already speaking when the pool entered the room. He announced the launch of a U.S.-ASEAN strategic partnership and said he welcomed the opportunity implement the plan of action for that partnership.
Obama offered brief opening remarks. He said he was proud to be attending his sixth meeting with ASEAN, saying that he's deepened American cooperation with ASEAN "because a united, integrated and effective ASEAN in the center of Asia is a force of stability, prosperity and peace."
"I'm pleased today that we're elevating our relationship to a new level," Obama said. "With a strategic partnership to guide and strengthen our ties for decades to come, including maritime cooperation, the United States and ASEAN will be closer than ever."
He commended ASEAN for working to ensure that all nations uphold international law and norms, including peaceful resolution of disputes.
Obama said he applauds ASEAN for working to create a code of conduct for the South China Sea.
He said he expected to have the opportunity to discuss the urgency of confronting climate change at tonight's session.
"Working together, I believe we can achieve an ambitious and durable climate agreement in Paris," he said, adding that he was looking forward to a productive session.
The leaders then were scheduled to take the family photo, but Laos' prime minister was nowhere to be found, so sadly, plans were put on hold.
With that, Najib asked the press to leave the room "as soon as you can, as fast as you can."
The pool is holding.
Colleen McCain Nelson
The Wall Street Journal