May 16, 2022, 05.53 PM


WASHINGTON, KOMPAS.com - US President Joe Biden said on Friday, May 13 a first summit in Washington with leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) marked the launch of a "new era" in the relationship between the United States and the 10-nation bloc, Reuters news agency reported. 

In a joint 28-point "vision statement" after a two-day meeting, the two sides took what analysts called a symbolic step of committing to raising their relationship from a strategic partnership to a "comprehensive strategic partnership" in November.

In Ukraine, they reaffirmed "respect for sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity," wording that a regional expert said went further than past ASEAN statements. The statement did not condemn Russia by name for its Feb. 24 invasion.

The summit marked the first time ASEAN leaders gathered as a group in Washington and their first meeting hosted by a US president since 2016.

Biden's administration hopes the effort will show that the United States remains focused on the Indo-Pacific and the long-term challenge of China, which it views as its main competitor, despite Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

He was also hoping to persuade ASEAN countries to toughen their stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Also read: President Joko Widodo Arrives in the US

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."

Biden called the US-ASEAN partnership "critical" and said: "We're launching a new era - a new era - in US-ASEAN relations."

Vice President Kamala Harris said the United States would remain in Southeast Asia for "generations" and stressed the need to maintain freedom of the seas, which the United States says is challenged by China.

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