ASEAN – President Joe Biden of the United States stated that his government is looking forward to working with Cambodia as the ASEAN chair, and that the US expects that ASEAN-US ties will continue to improve.
“Under Cambodia’s chairmanship, the United States wants to both expand our partnership with ASEAN and continue to pursue our common interests in the region,” Biden said in a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen on January 14.
He went on to say that the US is dedicated to ASEAN centrality and would continue to promote an ASEAN-centered “regional architecture” – a unified network of bilateral agreements and institutions – at the core of the Indo-Pacific.
Biden also stated that he intends to invite ASEAN leaders to a special conference in Washington in the coming months.
Hun Sen responded to Joe Biden’s letter by thanking him for announcing his desire to invite the leaders of the bloc to the summit. He also praised Biden’s willingness to deepen ASEAN-US cooperation during Cambodia’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2022.
The prime minister reaffirmed Cambodia’s strong commitment and unwavering support for the United States’ decision to hold the summit in Washington.
“I am convinced that the Summit will be an excellent chance for us to share our perspectives on how to promote ASEAN-US collaboration.” In his letter dated February 1, he stated, “I look forward to working closely with you and seeing you in person in Washington.”
Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Asian Vision Institute’s Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies, told The Washington Post on February 6 that ASEAN remains a key aspect of US foreign policy and a big economic partner that might help limit China’s expanding influence. In the foreseeable future, he expects the US to enhance its influence in ASEAN.
Mengdavid went on to say that Cambodia should lobby the US to help the Kingdom, as well as ASEAN, resolve the ongoing crisis in Myanmar by providing humanitarian aid, supporting ASEAN’s five-point consensus – which aims to facilitate negotiations and mediation in the dialogue process – and continuing to support ASEAN centrality’s core principles.
In addition to the Myanmar problem, Cambodia and other ASEAN nations would address “shared solutions and processes for post-Covid-19 ASEAN economic recovery and regional security cooperation,” he added.