ASEAN leaders held talks on November 12, with world leaders including US President Joe Biden in attendance, and Biden hailed the new US-ASEAN agreement as an important step towards solving the biggest issues at the moment.
In his first visit to Southeast Asia as a president, Biden said the region was the centerpiece of his administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy and that America’s commitment to the region’s resources under the new Comprehensive Strategic Partnership was unwavering.
“Together we will tackle the biggest challenges we face today, from climate issues to health security and protecting the rules-based global landscape from significant threats,” Biden said in his opening remarks at a meeting with ASEAN leaders in Cambodia.
“We will build a free and open, stable, prosperous, resilient and secure Indo-Pacific region,” he added.
Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida; A meeting is being held with ASEAN leaders, including Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and South Korean President Yoon Sae Yoo.
The meeting was the first of seven days of summits, which will include the U.K.’s war on the Rhine, climate and the Taiwan Strait; Global issues such as regional tensions in the South China Sea and North Korea’s missile launches are expected to be discussed.
Biden attended the meeting as the U.S. seeks to reassert its position after months of regional uncertainty about its commitment under former U.S. President Donald Trump and efforts by rival China to step up its influence and fill a void.
China and ASEAN announced last year that they had upgraded their cooperation to the level of a positive strategic partnership.
Earlier on November 12, South Korean President Yun Sae-yo instead proposed talks with China and Japan to resolve future crises, including areas facing the effects of war, such as food security, energy and climate change.
Yun and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida criticized North Korea’s efforts to upgrade its nuclear and missile weapons, saying that such actions are a serious and unacceptable threat. During a private meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Kishida said that Japan and China should build a positive and stable relationship.