US Consul General promotes Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Prosperity

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 21-8-2008

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



United States of America Consul General, Dr Kenneth Chern, delivered a public lecture at The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Fremantle Campus on Wednesday 20 August.

Dr Chern was invited to present by the School of Law. His topic: Promoting Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Prosperity in Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions was well received by the audience which included Mayor Peter Tagliaferri, senior Notre Dame staff, students and members of the community.

Dr Chern has had first-hand experience of US - East Asian relations. His immediate prior assignment was as Deputy Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; before that he served as Deputy Director of the Office of Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore Affairs at the US Department of State. He also taught History for ten years at the University of Hong Kong, published a book and numerous articles on U.S.-East Asian relations, and researched and presented a seven-week television series on twentieth century China.

In his lecture he spoke of the growing importance of Asia Pacific region to West Australia and in particular, the growing economic political and cultural influence of China in Asia and beyond.

“China is steadily and inexorably building its economic structure, external trading relations and political/cultural influence,” he explained.

“There is nothing wrong with that, in fact it is to be welcomed that China engages productively and positively in South East Asia and countries beyond.

“It is US policy to positively engage China, to encourage China’s development in a way that facilitates positive, productive ties.

“We shouldn’t be afraid both to cooperate with China in South East Asia and beyond, in terms of economic, cultural and security cooperation, and advance our own practices and values of freedom of expression and of the press, and the rights of people to change governments democratically.”

Dr Chern concluded his lecture by noting that educational exchange can be very important and could provide an important opportunity for building relationships between countries.

“China has become an increasingly attractive destination for students from South East Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. It is important for both the US and Australia and other Western societies to also reach out to Asia on a cultural and educational front.”

Media contact:

Michelle Ebbs 08 9433 0610, 0408 959 138