US President Joe Biden to take part in ASEAN summit, strengthen partnership with bloc

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Oct 26, 2021, 07:47 AM(IST)

US President Joe Biden mourns the loss of 46 transgender Americans killed due to violence in US Photograph:( AFP )

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This is the first time in four years a US president is participating in the summit as Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, attended an ASEAN-US meeting in Manila in 2017

Joe Biden will participate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and discuss new initiatives to strengthen the strategic partnership with the bloc.

''The United States is committed to an "enduring" commitment to ASEAN's central role in regional affairs,'' as per a statement issued by the White House.

''As we work together to end the COVID-19 pandemic, address the climate crisis, promote economic growth, and address a range of other regional challenges and opportunities," it added.

This is the first time in four years a US president is participating in the summit as Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, attended an ASEAN-US meeting in Manila in 2017.

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The move is being considered as a pushback against China by Biden. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir are also going to attend the three-day virtual gathering.

Beijing is investing heavily in South Asian countries under the disguise of improving its global trade reach for its Belt and Road plan but these countries have become mired in a Chinese debt trap.

US-China tensions have mounted and Beijing has stepped up military activity near Taiwan, the self-ruling US-aligned democracy that Beijing considers a province awaiting reunification. 

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Biden's administration has described Beijing as his country's top long-term challenge and raised pressure on concerns from human rights to trade.

Prior to the ASEAN summit, senior director for East Asia at the White House National Security Council, Edgard Kagan said that Washington does not see the Quad as "an Asian NATO" and that it was not intended to compete with ASEAN.

Referring to China's  broad claims in the disputed South China Sea, he said Washington has an interest in working with ASEAN to ensure supply-chain resilience, on climate, and to address ''common challenges on maritime issues.''

Coup-hit Myanmar's bloody crisis will take centre stage at a Southeast Asian summit that the country's junta chief has been barred from attending, as international pressure mounts on the military regime.

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