President Joe Biden will host a special ASEAN summit in Washington next month.
The meetings with leaders from Southeast Asia on May 12 and 13 come amidst an ongoing global pandemic, heightened concerns about China's ambitions, Russia wages war in Ukraine, and tension between the U.S. and Myanmar over a campaign against the Rohingya minority that the Biden administration recently called a genocide. It is a priority for the Biden-Harris Administration to serve as a strong, reliable partner in Southeast Asia, according to Jen Psaki, White House press secretary. Our shared ambitions for the region will continue to underpin our commitment to create an Indo-Pacific that is free and open, secure, connected, and resilient. Psaki said Biden would build on commitments made by the U.S. at the October meeting of the ASEAN, which included $102 million devoted to health, environmental, economic and gender equality initiatives. The U.S. is not a member of the ASEAN, but has worked closely with the group to counter China's influence in the Eastern Hemisphere.