11 July 2024

ASEAN hopes the US will play a constructive role in backing an ASEAN effort to maintain peace and stability, to mitigate the negative impacts of the Ukraine conflict.

Director General of ASEAN Department Usana Berananda briefed the media on Thursday ahead of the May 12-13 special ASEAN-US summit in Washington DC, stating that COVID-19 impacts the whole region and every country wants to see the domestic and regional atmosphere as peaceful as possible and conducive to cooperation, more than confrontation.

“We want to see the constructive role of the US in supporting ASEAN’s efforts in creating peace, maintaining regional stability and strengthening the cooperation of all sides affected by the situation in Ukraine,” she added.

In Washington, the ASEAN leaders are scheduled to meet and hold talks with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Cabinet members.

Usana said that the agenda includes bilateral issues between ASEAN and the US, namely the COVID-19 recovery plan, promoting regional sustainability and human resource development for the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). On regional and global issues, both sides will discuss the situation in Ukraine, the South China Sea as well as the crisis in Myanmar.

It will be the second special ASEAN-US summit. The first one was held in February 2016 in Sunnylands, California, under the Obama Administration. During the Trump administration, the scheduled summit in March 2020 in Las Vegas was postponed. After the ASEAN-US summit last year, Biden invited the ASEAN leaders to DC to meet with him.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will be absent, as the summit comes after the presidential election on May 9th. In the case of Myanmar, the US has followed the ASEAN practice of inviting only the senior non-political official.

Issues related to connectivity will also be discussed. The Ukraine crisis has disrupted the global supply chain, which impacts post-COVID-19 pandemic economic recovery. According to Usana, both sides will discuss ways to strengthen the global supply chain and its resilience.

On Wednesday, Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand jointly issued a statement stating that ASEAN has the privilege to host three major summits: the ASEAN-related summit in Phnom Penh, the G20 summit in Bali and the APEC2022 in Bangkok. The statement reiterated that these summits will further strengthen a spirit of cooperation, as well as ASEAN centrality and creditability in maintaining regional peace and stability.