President Joe Biden attended the 2021 Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit Tuesday morning and announced an investment of up to $102 million to expand the United States’ partnership with the group.
The president’s announcement comes as the Biden government has increased its focus on the Indo-Pacific region, particularly with the aim of combating China’s economic and military influence. His predecessor, former President Donald Trump, attended the summit in 2017 but did not attend the 2018-2020 period.
“You can expect me to address you personally. You can expect the United States to deepen our long-standing cooperation, explore new avenues of ministerial dialogue, invest in our country and promote inclusive prosperity in this critical region.” The bottom line is that ASEAN is essential to the central regional architecture of the Indo-Pacific region, and the United States is committed to ASEAN’s centrality.”
Describing the group as an “important pillar for maintaining resilience, prosperity and security in our common region,” the president concluded by saying that he looks to “not only our many common interests, but also our shared values and common interests” to advance a vision of a region in which every country can compete on an equal footing and be successful, and to which all nations have adhered.”, regardless of size or power, by law.”
ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Tuesday’s summit will also include guest sessions with Russian President Vladimir Putin and officials from China and South Korea. Myanmar was barred from attending Tuesday’s summit following the country’s military coup earlier this year.
White House officials said the US investment includes $40 million in “new efforts to accelerate collaborative research, strengthen health system capabilities, and develop the next generation of human capital for healthcare through the US-ASEAN Future of Health Initiative.” The United States has invested more than $3 billion in promoting Health Futures with ASEAN member countries over the past 20 years.
The investment will also inject $20.5 million into a “new future climate initiative between the United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, dedicated to addressing the climate crisis and keeping the urgent goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C within reach.”
The remaining funds will be divided between economic recovery programs from the pandemic and education-related loans to member countries.
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Original author: Christian Dattock
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