US NEWS: Biden should give ASEAN leaders time to develop relations, says the Cambodian minister

WASHINGTON, May 6 – U.S. President Joe Biden should spend more time with Southeast Asian leaders during a summit in Washington next week if his leaders are determined to improve US-regional relations, with China playing a key role, Cambodia’s top official he told on Friday.

There is currently no scheduled meeting between regional leaders and Biden at which the Association of 10 Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meets with him as a negotiating team on May 12 and 13, said Kao Kim Hourn, a close minister and adviser. Long-serving Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Cambodia has a rotating ASEAN chairman and up to eight leaders, including Hun Sen, are expected to attend the summit. Myanmar leader was ousted during a coup d’├ętat last year and the Philippines will undergo a post-election change.

Kao Kim Hourn told in an interview that ASEAN leaders “should be treated with respect and equality” and given the opportunity to spend “useful time” with Biden.

“As a large, host country, the United States should be generous to tourists, leaders traveling to Washington, especially as (Biden) will be talking about promoting strategic relations in full strategic cooperation,” he said, referring to the proposed level of cooperation between Washington and Washington. -ASEAN.

Kao Kim Hourn said he believes it is a common practice for the ASEAN chairman to meet with the leader of the country that governs the country, “either legally or illegally, for a certain dialogue.”

However, he was told by the US ambassador to Cambodia, Patrick Murphy, that no planned meeting of the two countries was known as the conference would be long and because Biden was “busy.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Kao Him Hourn’s remarks, but White House press secretary Jen Pskai told reporters that Biden would host a dinner at the White House for ASEAN leaders on Thursday and participate in a State Department conference. on friday.

He said the summit “will recognize the important role of ASEAN in delivering sustainable solutions to the most pressing challenges in the region and commemorate the 45 years of US-ASEAN relations.”

It will be the first ASEAN leadership conference to be held in Washington, as well as the first White House visit to Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia since 1985 and faced constant US criticism for cracking down on dissent and arresting dissenters.

Kao Kim Hourn said Cambodia, which has close economic ties with China, would not “choose sides” between Washington and Beijing, and that US investment in his country was growing.

Similarly, ASEAN is working with the United States and China under its “inclusion policy” policy, he said.

Analysts and analysts say ASEAN countries are determined to strengthen relations with the United States, but are frustrated by their failure to elaborate on economic talks after former President Donald Trump left the regional trade agreement.

Kao Kim Hourn said Biden’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework remains a “work in progress” and Washington is focused on domestic issues and the Ukraine crisis.

“There is a lot of information that we do not yet know,” he told IPEF. “We understand that there are a number of key issues competing for the United States’ global agenda.”

The South China Sea, where ASEAN members have applications competing with China, will certainly be on the agenda with Biden, as well as environmental issues, said Kao Kim Hourn.

Biden is likely to pressure ASEAN to do more to support Russia’s political and economic segregation efforts after its invasion of Ukraine.

Kao Kim Hourn said individual ASEAN members have different positions regarding conflict, and any ASEAN collective position should be “based on consensus.”

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