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Joe Biden visits Cambodia to fight China’s Southeast Asian influence

Joe Biden visits Cambodia to fight China’s Southeast Asian influence

Joe Biden visits Cambodia to fight China’s Southeast Asian influence

Biden visits Cambodia to fight China’s Southeast Asian influence

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  • ASEAN is “the heart of my administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy,” VP Biden says.
  • Joe Biden will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday.
  • Budget request for $850 million in assistance for Southeast Asia highlights U.S. commitment to ASEAN.
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Prior to a crucial meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping scheduled for Monday, President Joe Biden stressed on Saturday that the US’s relationship with ASEAN nations is “the heart of my administration’s Indo-Pacific policy.”

He is attempting to challenge China’s expanding influence.

The weekend of talks in Cambodia comes before the eagerly awaited Group of 20 summit the following week in Indonesia, where Biden will have his first in-person encounter with Xi since taking office.

The president will have the opportunity to meet with US friends before meeting with Xi at the ASEAN summits and the East Asia Summit on Sunday, both of which are taking place in Phnom Penh.

In remarks to the summit, Biden announced “another critical step” toward building on the group’s progress as he detailed the launch of the US-ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which, he said, “will tackle the biggest issues of our time, from climate to health security, defend against the significant threats to rule based order and to threats to the rule of law, and to build an Indo-Pacific that’s free and open, stable and prosperous, resilient and secure.”

He touted existing US financial commitments to ASEAN as he noted a budget request for $850 million in assistance for Southeast Asia.

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“This is my third trip, my third summit – second in person – and it’s testament to the importance the United States places in our relationship with ASEAN and our commitment to ASEAN’s centrality.

ASEAN is the heart of my administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy. And we continue to strengthen our commitment to work in lockstep with an empowered, unified ASEAN,” Biden said in brief opening remarks as the summit began.

In order to build on the Biden-ASEAN leaders summit in Washington earlier this year, the president’s first engagement in Cambodia was a one-on-one meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Biden “was intent on elevating our engagement in the Indo-Pacific” from the beginning of his presidency, according to national security adviser Jake Sullivan, and his attendance at the ASEAN and East Asia summits this weekend will highlight his work thus far, including the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework announced earlier this year and security partnership efforts.

“He’s coming into this set of summits with that record of accomplishment and purpose behind him, and he wants to be able to use the next 36 hours to build on that foundation to take American engagement forward, and also to deliver a series of concrete, practical initiatives,” Sullivan said.

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