US to host ASEAN leaders in May

New York: US President Joe Biden will meet in mid-May with the leaders of Southeast Asian nations, with a likely focus on the rising power of China, the host country announced.

The summit, originally scheduled for March, “will demonstrate the United States enduring commitment to ASEAN,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

“It is a top priority for the Biden-Harris Administration to serve as a strong, reliable partner in Southeast Asia,” the statement said.

The summit, originally set for March 28 and 29 before being delayed without a new date, will now take place on May 12 and 13.

The meeting was postponed amid reports that the leaders of some ASEAN members had scheduling conflicts, and as the Ukraine crisis continued to deepen.

The United States has long said that strengthening its ties to Asia was a foreign policy priority.

On March 29, Biden met at the White House with a key ASEAN member, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, and said he wanted to ensure that the region remains “free and open” — a reference to what the US sees as attempts by rising power China to dominate international trade routes.

A tense competition with China has become one of the greatest foreign policy challenges for the United States, though other issues — the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine — have demanded more urgent attention.

 

Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy: Joe Biden/Facebook)

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