US to host ASEAN leaders in mid-May
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The summit, originally scheduled for March, "will demonstrate the United States' enduring commitment to ASEAN," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
"It is a top priority for the Biden-Harris Administration to serve as a strong, reliable partner in Southeast Asia," the statement said.
The summit, originally set for March 28 and 29 before being delayed without a new date, will now take place on May 12 and 13.
The United States has long said that strengthening its ties to Asia was a foreign policy priority.
On March 29, Biden met at the White House with a key ASEAN member, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, and said he wanted to ensure that the region remains "free and open" -- a reference to what the US sees as attempts by rising power China to dominate international trade routes.
A tense competition with China has become one of the greatest foreign policy challenges for the United States, though other issues -- the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine -- have demanded more urgent attention.
ASEAN members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Several of them have experienced growing friction with Beijing.
The US statement Saturday did not make clear whether the leaders of Myanmar would in fact attend. The administration has accused that country's military leaders of perpetrating a "genocide" against the Rohingya minority.
ASEAN has sought -- in vain so far -- to find a diplomatic solution since the military took power there in a 2021 coup.