May 23, 2022

A two-day summit with the 10-nation bloc begins with a White House dinner on Thursday

President Joe Biden will host Southeast Asian leaders in Washington this week, seeking to show his administration remains focused on the Indo-Pacific and the long-term challenge of China despite the Ukraine crisis.

A two-day summit with the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) begins with a White House dinner on Thursday before talks at the State Department on Friday.

It will be the first time leaders of Asean, created in some of the darkest days of the Cold War, gather as a group at the White House. President Barack Obama was the last US leader to host them, at Sunnylands in California in 2016.

Up to eight Asean leaders are expected. Myanmar’s leader has been excluded over a coup last year and the Philippines is in transition after an election.

The summit takes place ahead of Biden’s May 20-24 visit to South Korea and Japan, which includes a plan to meet fellow leaders of the Quad countries – Australia, India and Japan – who share US concerns about China’s ambitions to expand its influence in the region and globally.

Biden’s Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell spoke at a think tank on Wednesday of a deep sense in the administration of the need not to be distracted from the Indo-Pacific, and said it would seek to increase US investment and engagement in Asean countries.

President Joe Biden will host Southeast Asian leaders in Washington this week as his administration seeks to show it can maintain its focus on the Indo-Pacific and the long-term challenge of China despite the immediate crisis in Ukraine. A two-day summit with the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) begins with a White House dinner on Thursday before talks at the State Department on Friday. Up to eight of the 10 ASEAN leaders are expected. Myanmar’s leader has been excluded over a coup last year and the Philippines is in transition after an election.

Reuters. FILEPHOTO: An ASEAN worker adjusts a flag during a Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) meeting hall on October 28, 2021. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng
Trevor Hunnicutt and Simon Lewis by David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – This week President Joe Biden will be hosting Southeast Asian leaders at Washington. He wants to demonstrate that his administration is still focused on the Indo-Pacific region and the long-term challenge facing China despite the Ukraine crisis.

Two-day Summit with 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations begins Thursday night with a White House Dinner, followed by talks at State Department Friday.
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The White House will host the ASEAN leaders who were created during the Cold War’s darkest hours. This is the first time they have gathered together as one group. The last U.S. leader that hosted them was President Barack Obama, who met at Sunnylands in California in 2016.

Eight ASEAN leaders could be expected. After a coup in Myanmar last year, Myanmar’s leader is out of office. The Philippines is currently transitioning after an election.

This summit will take place before Biden’s visit to South Korea, Japan and South Korea on May 20-24. Biden is also scheduled to meet with other leaders from the Quad countries (Australia, India, and Japan) who are concerned about China’s plans to increase its power in the region.