US President Joe Biden has begun a meeting with the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), pledging to spend $ 150 million on their infrastructure, security, disaster preparedness and efforts to counter China’s influence.
On Thursday, Biden began a two-day summit with the 10-nation ASEAN Association in Washington, with a dinner of leaders at the White House ahead of talks at the Foreign Office on Friday.
Before dinner, Biden smiled broadly as he posed for a group photo with delegates from Brunei, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines on the southern lawn of the White House. Russia’s action in Ukraine is on the agenda of the summit, but Biden hopes its efforts will demonstrate that the administration is focusing on the long – running Indo – Pacific and China challenges to these countries. Competitor.
In November alone, China pledged $ 1.5 billion over three years in development assistance to ASEAN countries to fight the corona virus and boost economic recovery.
“We are not asking countries to choose between the United States and China, but we want to make it clear that the United States seeks strong ties,” a senior executive told reporters. The new financial commitment includes a $ 40 million investment in infrastructure to help carbonize the region’s energy supply, a $ 60 million investment in maritime security, and a $ 15 million investment in healthcare to help diagnose covid disease. 19 “and other respiratory infections. Additional funding will enable these countries to develop laws for the digital economy and artificial intelligence.
Washington and countries in the region will send a ship to the U.S. Coast Guard region to assist local navies who describe China as illegal fishing.
This is the first meeting of ASEAN leaders within the framework of the panel at the White House, and their first meeting since 2016 by the US President.
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