US President Joe Biden said on Friday that the first meeting in Washington with the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) marks the beginning of a “new era” in US-10-nation relations.
This is the first time ASEAN leaders have gathered in Washington for their first meeting with a US president since 2016.
The Biden administration hopes to send the message that Washington remains committed to the Indo-Pacific region and to provoking China – which it sees as its main rival – despite the war in Ukraine.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The Myanmar leader was ousted from the summit because of last year’s coup, while the Philippines – which is in the process of handing over power after the election – was represented by the foreign minister.
US President Joe Biden has announced that he will appoint Johannes Abraham as US Ambassador to ASEAN, adding that the United States will continue to strengthen its “critical” cooperation with countries in the region.