Joe Biden is in Cambodia for the ASEAN summit, addressing the bloc's leaders, and promising US commitment on key issues. Next week the US President will meet with China's Xi Jinping in Bali.
US President Joe Biden addressed the Association of South Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Cambodia on Saturday, promising to develop diplomatic ties for a "comprehensive strategic partnership," as Washington seeks to counter Beijing's influence in the region.
"ASEAN is at the heart of my administration's Indo-Pacific strategy. And we continue to strengthen our commitment," he told the gathering of leaders at the summit in Phnom Penh.
ASEAN and the US will work together to tackle the "biggest issues of our time," including climate change and threats to
the rule of law, while building "an Indo-Pacific that's free and open, stable and prosperous, resilient and secure," Biden said.
The US president's stop at the ASEAN summit comes as he prepares for his first face-to-face meeting as president with Chinese leader Xi Jinpingon the sidelines of the G20 summit on Monday in Bali.
As China's regional influence grows, the US is seeking to reassure allies of US commitment on key issues. This includes ensuring countering Chinese maritime claims in the South China Sea, for example, by maintaining a US Naval presence.
The White House on Saturday said that Biden had also raised concerns with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen about Chinese activity at Ream Naval base.
ASEAN is currently plagued by geopolitical divisions between its 10 members, economic woes and accusations it has failed to deliver any meaningful solution to Myanmar crisis.