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Biden arrives in Cambodia to push US engagement with Southeast Asian leaders — Radio Free Asia

UPDATED AT 03:36 a.m. ET ON 11-12-2022

A day after attending the COP27 Local weather Convention in Egypt, U.S. President Joe Biden flew into Cambodia Saturday to attend a day summit with leaders of the Affiliation of Southeast Asian Nations, in search of to underscore his administration’s dedication to a area the place the U.S. and China vie for affect.

On the ASEAN-U.S. assembly Biden will “reaffirm the USA’ sturdy assist for ASEAN centrality and construct on the achievements of the historic U.S.-ASEAN Particular Summit that was held in Washington, D.C., earlier this yr,” based on White Home Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.  

“He’ll underscore U.S. assist for the ASEAN-led regional structure within the Indo-Pacific and focus on alternatives to make sure a free and open Indo-Pacific that’s extra linked, extra affluent, safer, and extra resilient,” she mentioned.

The important thing to that’s the U.S. authorities’s plan for elevated engagement with the area via the Indo-Pacific Financial Partnership (IPEF). The State Division says the U.S. has already introduced practically $250 million in new U.S.-ASEAN initiatives up to now yr to spice up financial development, deal with well being points following the COVID-19 pandemic, and sort out local weather change.

“This area is crucial to sustaining a free and open Indo-Pacific and is immediately linked to the way forward for our mixed 1 billion folks,” mentioned U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN Yohannes Abraham in a pre-summit briefing.

ASEAN is already America’s fourth-largest buying and selling companion and the U.S. is the largest investor within the area’s economies, he mentioned.

Whether or not the members of ASEAN might be impressed by what the U.S. has to supply is one other matter.

“I don’t suppose ASEAN states are a lot bought on IPEF. It incorporates elements which might be anathema to them and but is not actually a commerce deal, and does little to truly additional regional financial integration. It is a pretty weak bundle total,” mentioned Joshua Kurlantzick, senior fellow for Southeast Asia on the Council on Overseas Relations.

“China is already by far the area’s dominant economic system and commerce companion and the U.S. is not going to materially change that. Southeast Asian states are caught with China as their dominant financial companion however — for some Southeast Asian states — [there is] a want to construct nearer strategic ties with the U.S. However the U.S. is just not going to now substitute China because the area’s dominant commerce companion.”

U.S. President Joe Biden greets embassy employees and households on the Phnom Penh Worldwide Airport as he arrives to attend the 2022 ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, November 12, 2022.
CREDIT: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Biden will even be a part of ASEAN leaders in discussing Myanmar the place a February 2021 army coup in opposition to an elected authorities has spawned a deepening civil battle. On Friday, leaders of 9 of the ten members of the bloc – Myanmar junta chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing the absentee – took a harder line towards ASEAN’s peace plan, the 5 Level Consensus, calling for measurable progress towards its objectives that embody restoring democracy and delivering humanitarian help.

“The President will use this chance to debate how we will coordinate extra carefully to proceed to impose prices and lift stress on the junta in Naypyidaw as they proceed to take steps that repress and oppress their citizenry and transfer that nation additional away quite than nearer to the democratic path it was on earlier than the coup,” Nationwide Safety Advisor Jake Sullivan instructed reporters aboard Air Drive One.

Forward of the ASEAN-U.S. summit, Biden is holding a bilateral assembly in Phnom Penh with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

On Sunday Biden attends the East Asia Summit the place he plans to focus on methods to finish the Russian invasion of Ukraine and restrict the worldwide influence of the conflict when it comes to gas and grain shortages which might be fueling world inflation.  He additionally meets the Japanese prime minister and South Korean president each individually and collectively. These talks are prone to give attention to North Korea’s current barrage of missiles fired into the seas off the Korean peninsula — together with one which handed over Japan. North Korea can also be reported to be planning a nuclear take a look at.

Biden then heads to the Indonesian island of Bali to attend the Group of 20 leaders’ summit.

Forward of the G20, on Monday Biden will meet with China’s chief Xi Jinping. It is going to be their first face-to-face talks since Biden took workplace practically two years in the past.

Sullivan mentioned that Biden will inform Xi that if North Korea continues on its present path, it’s going to result in an enhanced U.S. army presence within the area.

The assembly between the 2 leaders comes as Xi begins a 3rd time period in workplace after consolidating his domination of the ruling Chinese language Communist Social gathering at a Nationwide Congress regardless of mounting home issues inside China.

For his half, Biden is coming into this Asian summit season after his Democrat get together’s slim grip on the U.S. Congress slipped after mid-term elections.

Analysts say the assembly with Xi is prone to give attention to holding open strains of communication and discovering areas to cooperate, as effectively addressing contentious points akin to each international locations’ conflict video games within the area, Taiwan and North Korea.

This story has been up to date to appropriate the day of Biden’s conferences with the South Korean and Japanese leaders to Sunday.



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