Uncertainty Looms as President Biden’s Attendance at ASEAN Summits in Jakarta Remains in Doubt

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uncertainty looms as president biden's attendance at asean summits in jakarta remains in doubt

In light of China’s expanding influence in the region, concerns have been raised over US President Joe Biden’s projected absence from the following meetings with Southeast Asian leaders in Jakarta. Although Biden has stated intentions to visit Vietnam and is planning to attend the G20 summit in India, it is becoming less probable that he will be present at the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meetings taking place from September 4 to 7.

Biden is not expected to attend the summits in Jakarta, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. A senior diplomat confirmed that Indonesia had been warned of this prospective absence. The idea of Vice President Kamala Harris going in Vice President Joe Biden’s place has been raised, though the White House has not yet confirmed the issue.

This likely absence comes after Biden disappointed the area by postponing a trip to Australia and Papua New Guinea due to personal issues. The administration’s emphasis on the area’s importance may be scrutinised given that no US president attended the ASEAN meetings.

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Policy analysts point out that skipping the ASEAN meetings, particularly in light of Biden’s attendance at the G20 conference in India, could give the impression that the US is waning in its commitment to the region. Countries in Southeast Asia have already expressed gratitude for the US’s expanded presence there under Biden’s leadership. Still, such a non-appearance might fuel rumours about a return to intermittent engagement.

Experts believed that the prolonged absence of the previous president Donald Trump from regional meetings gave China more room to grow. The significance of the US-ASEAN relationship was furthered by the previous president Barack Obama’s regular attendance at these summits.

Questions about the US commitment to Southeast Asia and its counterbalance to China’s rising remain as uncertainty about Biden’s attendance persists.

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