ASEAN Leaders Arrive in US wants ASEAN leaders to play bigger role

ASEAN Leaders Arrive in US wants ASEAN leaders to play bigger role


Southeast Asian leaders have converged on Washington ahead of the U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit that will be hosted by President Joe Biden on May 12-13, as a sign of his administration’s commitment to the regional bloc. The leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are expected to participate in a number of events hosted by Biden and other U.S. government officials during the two-day summit, in addition to sundry other side-gigs and engagements.

The summit is the second-ever standalone meeting of ASEAN leaders on U.S. soil following the ASEAN-U.S. Special Leaders’ Summit hosted by President Barack Obama at the Sunnylands Center in Rancho Mirage, California, in February 2016. On this occasion, however, Myanmar’s military junta has been excluded from the event following its February 2021 coup, while outgoing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has opted not to attend.

Like the Sunnylands summit convened by Obama, the upcoming meet carries symbolic importance and marks a milestone in the Biden administration’s attempts to engage Southeast Asia, a region that it views as central to countering China’s rising influence in Asia.

Announcing the summit in late February, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said that it was a “top priority for the Biden-Harris Administration to serve as a strong, reliable partner and to strengthen an empowered and unified ASEAN to address the challenges of our time.” Two months earlier, during his visit to the region in December, Secretary of State Antony Blinken described Southeast Asia as “essential to the architecture of the Indo-Pacific region.”

WASHINGTON, May 11 (Reuters) – The United States wants Southeast Asian leaders to play a “more deeply engaged role” in efforts to put Myanmar back on a democratic track after a coup last year, the top U.S. official for Asia said on Wednesday ahead of President Joe Biden’s meeting with leaders from the region this week.
. . .
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has barred Myanmar’s junta from attending its summits until it sees progress in a five-point “consensus” agreed last year in hopes of ending violence that has erupted since the generals seized power and detained the country’s democratically elected leaders, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. read more

U.S Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell, speaking at the U.S. Institute of Peace, said the Biden administration would “encourage greater diplomacy” on Myanmar in meetings with the leaders of ASEAN in Washington on Thursday and Friday.