Washington (Times Of Ocean)- US President Joe Biden will host the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on May 12 and 13, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Saturday.
As part of the May 12-13 gathering, the United States will demonstrate its commitment to being a partner with countries in the region.
The White House had previously announced the summit would be held March 28-29, but ASEAN members requested that the meeting be postponed due to scheduling concerns.
US-ASEAN relations will be celebrated at the summit for 45 years. In October 2021, Biden announced $102 million in new initiatives to assist these countries with COVID19 and health security, climate change, economic growth, and gender equality.
“A strong, reliable partner in Southeast Asia is a top priority for the Biden-Harris Administration,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. “Our shared aspirations for the region will continue to underpin our commitment to advancing an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, secure, connected, and resilient.”
ASEAN’s 10 members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The group’s members have been at odds over Myanmar, which has been wracked by violent unrest since the army ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s government last February.
The ASEAN is seeking to implement a five-point plan for Myanmar, focusing on dialogue, humanitarian assistance and ending violence. Myanmar’s ruling military council has delayed implementation of the plan even as the country has descended into a state that some UN experts have characterized as civil war.
As a result of Myanmar’s lack of cooperation with ASEAN, the body last year barred its leader, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, from attending its summit, an unprecedented move for a body where members avoid public criticism and have always operated by consensus.
It has applied a similar policy for future meetings, allowing Myanmar to send only non-political representatives.
As Biden met with Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, last month, the president tried to reassure Singapore and other Pacific allies that the United States remains focused on the region while working with Europe and other allies to stop Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.