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    the white house is hosting leaders from asean for talks this week. what does asean stand for?


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    President Biden will welcome the leaders of the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) for a historic U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit, held for the first time


    FACT SHEET: U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit in Washington, DC 

    MAY 12, 2022 •


    President Biden will welcome the leaders of the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) for a historic U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit, held for the first time in Washington D.C. and at the White House, to re-affirm the United States’ enduring commitment to Southeast Asia and underscore the importance of U.S.-ASEAN cooperation in ensuring security, prosperity, and respect for human rights.

    Over many years, the United States has steadily deepened our partnership with Southeast Asia. The United States has provided over $12.1 billion in development, economic, health, and security assistance to Southeast Asian allies and partners since 2002 and over that same period of time, the United States has provided over $1.4 billion in humanitarian assistance, including life-saving disaster assistance, emergency food aid, and support to refugees throughout Southeast Asia. Building on our long-standing commitment to this critical region, the Biden-Harris Administration’s FY 2023 Budget Request included over $800 million in bilateral assistance for ASEAN partners and over $25 million to deepen relations with ASEAN and enhance ASEAN’s capacity to tackle pressing regional challenges.

    The United States and Southeast Asia also benefit from our far-reaching commercial and trade ties. ASEAN represents the world’s fourth largest market and the United States is ASEAN’s largest source of foreign direct investment, while our two-way trade amounted to over $360 billion in 2020.

    U.S.-ASEAN relations are ultimately anchored in the special friendship shared by our combined one billion people. Our ongoing commitment to deepening people-to-people ties is marked by 7000 programs at 83 American Spaces in ASEAN countries, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative’s 155,000 alumni, and the connections forged through nearly 6 million U.S. visas, including student visas, granted to Southeast Asian travelers since 2010.

    At the annual U.S.-ASEAN Summit in October 2021, President Biden announced an unprecedented investment of up to $102 million in U.S.-ASEAN relations, significantly expanding our cooperation on health, climate, science and innovation, trade facilitation, education, and more. Today, the United States and ASEAN will inaugurate a new era of partnership, guided by the complementary objectives of the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. In that spirit, President Biden is announcing over $150 million in initiatives which we expect will mobilize billions more in private financing that will deepen U.S.-ASEAN relations, strengthen ASEAN centrality, and expand our common capacity to achieve our shared objectives.


    In support of U.S.-ASEAN Climate Futures and U.S.-ASEAN Economic Futures, the United States and ASEAN will raise our collective climate ambition while working together to support implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025.  We will help meet the region’s enormous infrastructure needs in a sustainable manner that accelerates the clean energy transition, helps the region to achieve a path to net zero emissions by mid-century, and drives inclusive, broad-based prosperity.

    Investing in Clean Energy Infrastructure: Through the Southeast Asia Smart Power Program, the United States will invest $40 million in order to mobilize $2 billion in blended financing for clean energy infrastructure in Southeast Asia, thereby decarbonizing and strengthening the region’s power system, increasing regional energy trade, and accelerating the deployment of clean energy technologies.

    U.S.-ASEAN Forest Future Initiative: The United States is committed to working with ASEAN to fight deforestation and accelerate the regional transition to sustainable, climate-positive forest economies – a critical step in achieving ASEAN countries’ climate and development goals.

    Mobilizing Finance at Scale: The United States is launching a new platform, bringing together members of the Forest Investor Club, leaders from the United States and ASEAN in the financial sector, conservation and community engagement organizations, agriculture and forestry companies, and governments, to deliver a coordinated approach for natural capital finance. This initiative, subject to appropriate procedures and requirements, aims to mobilize $1 billion in capital investment across the region toward sustainable forestry, forest restoration, and responsible land use.

    ASEAN Nature Finance Innovation Roundtable: The U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of State, and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation will convene an ASEAN Nature Finance Innovation Roundtable to catalyze the use of innovative financial mechanisms and mobilize additional finance to support the long-term conservation, restoration, and sustainable management of critical ecosystems in Southeast Asia.

    U.S.-ASEAN Climate Solutions Hub: The United States is launching a U.S.-ASEAN Climate Solutions Hub, which will provide technical assistance to ASEAN countries in order to accelerate implementation of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and related low-emission development and resilience strategies. This demand-driven initiative will support renewable energy deployment, decarbonization of the transportation sector, methane reduction efforts, and sustainable agriculture, forestry, and land management. It will also support the development of energy and land-use frameworks and measures that mobilize public and private finance and achieve just transitions.

    Source : www.whitehouse.gov

    US: Joe Biden hosts ASEAN leaders amid concerns over China

    The White House has announced a cash injection to boost Southeast Asia's climate, maritime and public health infrastructure as ASEAN leaders discuss shared concerns over China's rise in the region.


    US: Joe Biden hosts ASEAN leaders amid concerns over China

    The White House has announced a cash injection to boost Southeast Asia's climate, maritime and public health infrastructure as ASEAN leaders discuss shared concerns over China's rise in the region.

    This is the first ASEAN meeting in Washington and first to be hosted by a US President since 2016

    US President Joe Biden on Friday announced the nomination of Yohannes Abraham as ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as he wrapped up talks in Washington with leaders of the 10-country bloc.

    Biden kicked off the summit for the ASEAN bloc by holding a dinner for the bloc's leaders at the White House on Thursday evening.

    The first-ever meeting of the two-day ASEAN summit to be held in Washington comes as the US seeks to solidify ties with Southeast Asian countries as part of its Indo-Pacific strategy in response to China's expansion.

    Earlier on Friday, US Vice President Kamala Harris said that "the United States and ASEAN have shared a vision for this region, and together will guard against threats to international rules and norms," appearing to allude to Beijing's military presence in the South China Sea.

    Ahead of the dinner, the White House pledged around $150 million (€144.3 million) in support for ASEAN countries with initiatives for clean energy and maritime security.

    "I hope this meeting can build a momentum for the return of the US presence in the region," Indonesian President Joko Widodo told a forum of the US-ASEAN Business Council before heading to dinner at the White House.

    What the $150 million package entails

    The White House committed $60 million to new maritime initiatives, including the deployment of a Coast Guard vessel and personnel to fight crimes at sea. US officials said the funds would also be used to counter what the US describes as illegal fishing by China.

    The White House said another $40 million would go towards clean energy initiatives and around $6 million would go to accelerate digital development in the region.

    It also said it was working with the private sector to raise funds of up to $2 billion.

    By comparison, the White House earlier this week announced a $40 billion military and humanitarian package for Ukraine as it fights the Russian army. The modest sum also pales in comparison to China's deep ties in the region.

    Biden is working on other initiatives to bolster economic cooperation in the region, like "Build Back Better World" infrastructure investment and an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). But few details have been revealed about both plans.

    What are ASEAN concerns over China?

    China claims nearly all of the South China Sea and stands at odds with four other ASEAN members — Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei, and Malaysia — that claim parts of it.

    While the US has stepped up cooperation with other countries in the Indo-Pacific on traditional security matters to counter China, ASEAN members have grown increasingly frustrated by a US delay in detailing plans for economic growth in the region since it quit a regional trade pact in 2017.

    "The US should adopt a more active trade and investment agenda with ASEAN, which will benefit the US economically and strategically," Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Thursday.

    China is not a member of ASEAN but it is party, along with Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, to the world'slargest trade deal with ASEAN members.

    What is ASEAN?

    ASEAN is a 10-member bloc that aims at bolstering cooperation and economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region and the countries share Washington's concerns about China.

    Biden took a group photo on the South Lawn with leaders from Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines before dinner.

    The Philippines was represented by its foreign affairs secretary since the country is in transition amidst the election of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as president on May 9.

    Eight ASEAN leaders are expected to participate in talks on Friday, the final day of the summit.

    Myanmar's top general was barred from attending last year's virtual meeting in October, and the country refused a representative for the meeting to protest its top general's exclusion. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has been excluded from attending ASEAN meetings given military rule and violence in the country.

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    Myanmar releases political prisoners amid ASEAN tension

    Myanmar releases political prisoners amid ASEAN tension Biden to travel to Asia next week

    Reuters news agency reported that Biden is set to launch IPEF during his whirlwind visit to Asia next week.

    Biden is set to travel to South Korea and Japan to meet their new leaders, his first trip to Asia as president of the US.

    He is also set to meet with leaders of the so-called QUAD group — which comprises the US, Japan, India and Australia — that has intensified security and economic ties amid concerns over China's rise in the region.

    rm/rt (Reuters, AFP, AP)


    Source : www.dw.com

    ASEAN leaders head to White House for key summit

    US rolls out the red carpet for Southeast Asian leaders amid increasing rivalry in the Asia Pacific.

    EXPLAINER News|Politics

    ASEAN leaders head to White House for key summit

    US rolls out the red carpet for Southeast Asian leaders amid increasing rivalry in the Asia Pacific.

    ASEAN leaders have been invited to the White House for the first time in 45 years [File: Lim Huey Teng/Reuters]

    By Al Jazeera Staff

    Published On 12 May 2022

    12 May 2022

    Leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will meet United States President Joe Biden at a White House summit on Thursday, as the US attempts to drive home its “enduring commitment” to the region.

    The summit marks the first time ASEAN leaders have been invited to the White House in 45 years. The last time all the countries’ leaders visited the US was in 2016, when they met then-President Barack Obama at the Sunnylands ranch in California.


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    Myanmar regime condemns Malaysia call for ASEAN to work with NUG

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    ASEAN envoy meets generals in controversial Myanmar visit

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    Only eight of the group’s 10 leaders are expected in Washington, DC, this time around.

    The Philippines is in the midst of a leadership transition after polls this week to choose a new president, while Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who toppled Myanmar’s elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a 2021 coup, has been barred from the event.

    A senior official in the US said there had been discussions over whether to have “an empty chair to reflect our dissatisfaction with what’s taken place and our hope for a better path forward”.

    ASEAN leaders were last in the US in 2016, when then-President Barack Obama invited them to Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

    What is happening over the two days?

    Biden is rolling out the red carpet for the Southeast Asian leaders – including Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen who has wiped out any domestic opposition to his rule and, in his role as the current chair of ASEAN, ruffled feathers by becoming the first foreign leader to visit Myanmar since the February 2021 coup.

    The first official engagement on May 12 will be a visit to the Capitol, where the ASEAN leaders will meet House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and have a working lunch with both Democrat and Republican members.

    After that, they will meet Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai as well as senior business leaders to discuss deeper economic cooperation.

    In the evening, the leaders will join President Joe Biden for an “intimate dinner” at the White House.

    The event is “an opportunity to listen to the leaders about their aspirations for where they want to take ASEAN and how the United States can help,” the senior official said. Each leader will also have “quick, private time” with Biden, he added.

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    On May 13, Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken will host a working lunch with discussions to focus on maritime cooperation, pandemic recovery, and health security. Climate will also be on the agenda.

    “Part of the ambition of this summit is to broaden and deepen not only the level of engagement in the US government but to broaden it across every element of our government,” the spokesperson said.

    Later on the second day, the leaders will meet Biden for a second time.

    “The meeting is the message,” the Reuters news agency quoted former Singapore diplomat Bilahari Kausikan as saying at the Stimson Center think tank on Monday.

    What about Myanmar?

    Myanmar has been a member of ASEAN since 1997, when it was admitted to the organisation during a previous military regime.

    The group, which operates under the principle of consensus and non-interference, appears to have taken a marginally tougher line towards the generals with the latest coup, which followed 10 years of political reform.

    Min Aung Hlaing attended a summit of the group in April 2021, at the end of which a so-called ‘five point consensus‘ was agreed upon to chart a way out of the crisis triggered by the military’s power grab.

    But the generals have made no effort to meet any of the commitments, which included “constructive dialogue” with “all parties” to end the turmoil and bring an “immediate” end to the violence.

    Some 1,833 people have been killed since the coup and more than 13,500 arrested, according to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, which has been monitoring the situation.

    If anything, the violence seems to have increased since the agreement was signed with mounting attacks on civilians, entire villages razed and increased fighting with ethnic armed groups. Some UN experts have said the country is now in a state of civil war.

    Source : www.aljazeera.com

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