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Joe Biden does a meeting with ASEAN leaders

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Recently, U.S President Joe Biden initiated a two-day summit meeting. This meeting hosted leaders of the US. They met with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. Moreover, this is the first-ever meeting with ASEAN leaders. Further, the White House hosted them. Political experts see this as a significant effort by the Joe Biden administration. So as to mobilize countries against China in the Asia-Pacific region.

ASEAN: U.S v China

American diplomacy experts have said that Southeast Asia is the fastest-growing economic region in the world. Also, this area is the center of increasing competition between the U.S and China. Further, there are many ASEAN member states that have conflicting relations with China. In view of this, the U.S is mobilizing ASEAN as part of a special strategy. The ASEAN consists of ten countries.

A special U.S initiative for ASEAN

On Thursday, the summit started when the US announced a special initiative worth $150 million for the region. Moreover, the U.S plans to spend this money on clean energy, maritime security, and digital development. Apart from this, the US wants to have a regional trade framework for this region. Meanwhile, the U.S will announce its plans soon. Under this framework, the U.S will set the norms for labor behavior and digital trade.

ASEAN countries to get access to the US market

James Crabtree is a U.S Diplomacy expert. He has said that the US has prepared an economic plan. This will benefit the ASEAN countries. Meanwhile, they will not have to pay any price for it. But still, there are many who think that the US is not ready for such a trade agreement. Further, this move will make it easier for ASEAN countries to access the US market.

Different opinions

Therefore, there are different opinions regarding this U.S move. Will Joe Biden’s latest initiative be even effective?. However, China has a free trade agreement with ASEAN countries. In 2009, it overtook the US to become ASEAN’s largest trading partner. China has also promised to spend billions of dollars on infrastructure development in the region. Therefore the U.S trying to mobilize these countries against China is a difficult challenge.

China still popular

“China’s unpopularity in the region has increased over the past year,”. Joshua Kurlantzik, an analyst of the American think-tank Council on Foreign Relations told the website axios.com. The main reason for this is its Zero COVID-19 policy. Despite this, it cannot be denied that China has a shadow over the ongoing discussions in Washington.

Analysts have pointed out that while China may have outperformed the U.S in trade. However, the US is still a major partner of ASEAN countries in terms of security ties. Despite this, the US could not gather much support in the region on the Ukraine crisis. Only one ASEAN member country – Singapore imposed sanctions on Russia. The rest of the countries refused to take a clear stand against Russia. Now observers are watching whether there will be any change in the opinion of the leaders of the region on Russia. That too, after the summit meeting with Joe Biden.

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