Ahead of Blinken trip to Malaysia and Asean, US says committed to 'unprecedented' ASEAN ties

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (pic) to visit Malaysia and Southeast Asia.

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden is committed to elevating U.S. engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to "unprecedented" levels, the top U.S. diplomat for Asia said on Wednesday, ahead of a visit to Southeast Asia by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Daniel Kritenbrink, the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, told a news briefing the security aspect of Blinken's trip would focus on strengthening regional security infrastructure in response to Chinese "bullying" in the South China Sea.

Blinken will travel to Britain for a Group of Seven ministers meeting before visiting Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand from Dec. 9-17.

"President Biden is committed to elevating U.S.-ASEAN engagement to unprecedented levels, expanding our formal engagement and cooperation via new ministerial-level meetings on climate and environment, energy, health, transportation, and gender equality and women’s empowerment,” Kritenbrink said.

“There’s tremendous convergence among our partners in the region including these three countries in Southeast Asia," he said.

"Convergence in terms of the vision we have for the kind of region we want to live in... a region that is free of coercion, a region where large countries do not bully the weak and where all countries play by the rules."

Kritenbrink said the United States was not asking countries in the region to chose sides, but wanted to ensure they had the ability to make their own decisions.

"We choose that vision of a rules-based international order in which all countries, large and small, play by the rules.”

Kritenbrink said Blinken would discuss plans to for an "Indo-Pacific economic framework," which Biden told Asian leaders in October the United States would launch talks on.

Critics say Biden's Asia strategy to stand up to China's growing influence and might has lacked this crucial element since his predecessor Donald Trump quit a regional trade pact.

Kritenbrink said the framework would enhance economic cooperation with Indo-Pacific nations across a variety of areas, including trade facilitation, the digital economy, supply chain resiliency, infrastructure, decarbonization, and clean energy and worker standards.- Reuters

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights


Next In Business News

SCIB releases annual report; resumes trading on Jan 19
Sunway Property targets RM2.2bil sales in 2022
Consortium signs HoA to finance 5G projects
KLCI slips below 1,550-level as profit-taking continues
CEO: F&N to prioritise on improving cost of goods for short-term outlook
Credit Suisse Chairman Horta-Osorio resigns over Covid-19 breaches
Bank Negara likely to raise interest rate in 2022
Oil climbs on supply worries, limited Omicron impact
Malaysia's GDP to grow 5.6% this year, says HSBC
Indonesia Dec trade surplus at US$1bil, well below forecast

Others Also Read