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Hawaii is offered as location for ASEAN meeting

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    Chuck Hagel visits Hawaii and talks to service members.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has invited the defense ministers from the 10 countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to Hawaii for their annual meeting next year.

In a speech Saturday in Singapore before the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Hagel said, "I am extending an invitation to ASEAN defense ministers to meet together next year in Hawaii. I believe this first-ever U.S.-hosted meeting of ASEAN defense ministers will provide another opportunity for us to discuss a shared vision for a dynamic, peaceful and secure future for the region."

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz released a statement Tuesday supporting the meeting in Hawaii.

"Holding the ASEAN defense ministers’ meeting in Hawaii would showcase Hawaii’s critical role in Asia and the Pacific. Because of its strategic location, Hawaii plays an important part in the United States’ ‘pivot to Asia,’" Schatz said.

Hawaii clearly demonstrated it can handle the security challenges of a high-level meeting during the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting of world leaders, Schatz said.

The ASEAN defense ministers meeting would "provide further proof that Hawaii will continue to be a prime location to host national and international meetings that will bring in revenue for the state."

ASEAN includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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