Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

U.S. hails 'new era' with ASEAN as summit commits to raise level of ties

World May 14, 2022 04:12AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
8/8 © Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during the U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit at the U.S. Department of State, in Washington, U.S., May 13, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis 2/8

By Jeff Mason, David Brunnstrom and Michael Martina

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden said on Friday a first summit in Washington with leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) marked the launch of a "new era" in the relationship between the United States and the 10-nation bloc.

In a joint 28-point "vision statement" after a two-day meeting, the two sides took what analysts called a symbolic step of committing to raise their relationship from a strategic partnership to a "comprehensive strategic partnership" in November.

On Ukraine they reaffirmed "respect for sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity," wording that a regional expert said went further than past ASEAN statements. The statement did not condemn Russia by name for its Feb. 24 invasion.

The summit marked the first time ASEAN leaders gathered as a group in Washington and their first meeting hosted by a U.S. president since 2016.

Biden's administration hopes the effort will show that the United States remains focused on the Indo-Pacific and the long-term challenge of China, which it views as its main competitor, despite Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

He was also hoping to persuade ASEAN countries to toughen their stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Biden told the ASEAN leaders that "a great deal of history of our world in the next 50 years is going to be written in the ASEAN countries, and our relationship with you is the future, in the coming years and decades."

Biden called the U.S.-ASEAN partnership "critical" and said: "We're launching a new era - a new era - in U.S.-ASEAN relations."

Vice President Kamala Harris said the United States would remain in Southeast Asia for "generations" and stressed the need to maintain freedom of the seas, which the United States says is challenged by China.

"The United States and ASEAN have shared a vision for this region, and together we will guard against threats to international rules and norms," Harris said.

Neither she nor Biden mentioned China by name. The United States has accused China of using coercion against its neighbors.

Harris said Washington would continue to respond with ASEAN to the threat of COVID-19, having already donated more than 115 million vaccine doses to the region. She said both sides needed to show collective ambition on climate change, accelerate the transition to clean energy, and meet infrastructure needs sustainably.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Myanmar's leader was excluded from the summit over a coup last year. U.S. treaty ally the Philippines, in transition after an election, was represented at the meeting by its foreign minister.

Biden hosted a summit dinner at the White House on Thursday, and his administration promised $150 million for areas including infrastructure, security, pandemic preparedness and clean energy.

CHINA RIVALRY, SHARED CONCERNS

New U.S. commitments will include deployment of a Coast Guard vessel to the region to help counter what the United States and regional countries have described as China's illegal fishing.

Still, U.S. spending pales in comparison to that of China, which in November alone pledged $1.5 billion in development assistance for ASEAN over three years to fight COVID and fuel economic recovery.

Biden on Friday announced the nomination of Yohannes Abraham, chief of staff on his National Security Council, to be ambassador to ASEAN, filling a post vacant since the start of Donald Trump's administration in 2017. Biden is working on other initiatives, including "Build Back Better World" infrastructure investment and an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

Gregory Poling, a Southeast Asia expert at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, said the summit was largely about symbolism with economics a missing component, as IPEF is not expected to be launched until Biden visits Japan later in May.

"Everyone seems happy and the diplomatic message of commitment is landing. But ... a modest, to put it kindly, $150 million isn't going to impress anyone," he said. "That leaves a lot riding on IPEF."

Raising the relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership matched similar moves by ASEAN with Australia and China last year.

"That's symbolically important, though it wouldn't change much in concrete terms," Poling said.

He noted the statement on Ukraine did not condemn Russia by name, but said "the call to respect Ukraine's sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity is an obvious criticism of Russia and would seemingly commit all the ASEAN leaders to never recognize any Russian annexation on Ukraine."

ASEAN countries share many U.S. concerns about China's assertiveness, including its claim of sovereignty over vast swaths of the South China Sea where several have rival claims.

However they remain cautious about siding more firmly with Washington, given their predominant economic ties with China and limited U.S. economic incentives. Some, like Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, have residual historical ties to Russia.

ASEAN states have been frustrated by a U.S. delay in detailing plans for economic engagement since Trump quit a regional trade pact in 2017. Biden announced the intention to create IPEF at a virtual summit with ASEAN leaders in October.

Analysts and diplomats have said only two ASEAN countries - Singapore and the Philippines - are expected to be among the initial group to sign up for negotiations under IPEF, which does not currently offer the expanded market access Asian nations want given Biden's concern for American jobs.

U.S. hails 'new era' with ASEAN as summit commits to raise level of ties
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (3)
Honey Badger
Honey Badger May 14, 2022 4:37AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
US is only good in using counties like toilet paper so be careful
Тони Chuk
Тони Chuk May 14, 2022 4:37AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
new era hahah
Chee kong Thien
Chee kong Thien May 14, 2022 2:55AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
no Asean leaders will listen to US! US is out of date.
Edward Chong
Edward Chong May 14, 2022 2:30AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
i guess only Biden think one sided. the rest juz purely entertaining him.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email