Biden Hails “New Era” of US-ASEAN Ties at Washington Summit

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Biden addresses Southeast Asian leaders at the US-ASEAN Special Summit.
Biden addresses Southeast Asian leaders at the US-ASEAN Special Summit in Washington, DC.

US President Joe Biden said on Friday that the first summit held in Washington with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) marked the beginning of a “new era” in the US-ASEAN partnership.

Biden told the ASEAN leaders that “a great deal of the 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.”

He said the first summit in Washington with ASEAN marked the launch of a “new era” in the relationship between the United States and the 10-nation bloc.

The US President also announced the nomination of Mr. Yohannes Abraham as US Ambassador to ASEAN, stating that the US will continue to strengthen its “critical” partnership with the region.

Prime Minister of Laos, Phankham Viphavanh, at the US-ASEAN Special Summit
Prime Minister of Laos, Phankham Viphavanh, at the US-ASEAN Special Summit (Photo: Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

During the Summit, Lao Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh and his delegation met with President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as other senior American officials.

Prime Minister Phankham thanked the US Government for providing both vaccines and medical equipment to ASEAN countries, including Laos, and suggested that the US and ASEAN continue to cooperate in the research and development of vaccines and medicines.

Harris stated that the US would continue to respond to the Covid-19 threat alongside ASEAN, having previously supplied more than 115 million vaccines to the region. She also said that both the United States and ASEAN must do more to fight climate change, accelerating a transition to clean energy and ensuring sustainable infrastructure development.

Russia’s war on Ukraine was also on the agenda, with the US aiming to encourage ASEAN countries to do more to counter Moscow.

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