US-ASEAN pact to tackle ‘biggest issues of our time,’ says Biden in Cambodia


US President Joe Biden on Saturday (November 12) held talks with Southeast Asian leaders during Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Cambodia. Biden hailed the new US-ASEAN pact as a critical which will help tackling “the biggest issue of our time.”

This was Biden’s first visit to Southeast Asia as a president. The US president said that the region was at the heart of his administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy and Washington was committing resources, not just rhetoric, under a new Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

“Together we will tackle the biggest issues of our time, from climate, to health security, to defend against the significant threat to the rule-based order,” he said, opening a meeting in Cambodia with leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

“We will build an Indo Pacific that’s free and open, stable and prosperous, and resilient and secure,” he added.

ASEAN is engaging a host of leaders, including Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol.

Biden’s presence comes as the United States seeks to reassert itself after a period of regional uncertainty about its commitment under US predecessor Donald Trump, and concerted efforts by rival China to boost its influence and fill the void.

(With inputs from agencies)

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