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ASEAN Delays US Request for “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership”

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As a result of a surprising diplomatic move, ASEAN has reportedly decided to delay granting “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” status, or CSP, to the US until November.

An Association of Southeast Asian Nations source, who asked not to be identified, told Thai PBS that the US should wait until all procedural steps for the CSP have been completed before making any decisions.

The Biden administration has not yet applied officially, and all the Association of Southeast Asian Nations members have not yet discussed and made assessments.

In addition, India has asked the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for the upgraded status of CSP. Both China and Australia were granted CP status last year.

In Friday’s joint vision statement, both sides say they are dedicated to establishing what they called a “meaningful, substantive and mutually beneficial” Comprehensive Strategic Partnership at the 10th ASEAN-US summit in Phnom Penh in November.

In November, three important the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summits will occur in Cambodia, Indonesia, and Thailand.

President Biden has been asked to be one of the top guests; Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping were also asked to attend the ASEAN summits.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already been invited to attend all three of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summits. On the G20 side, Ukraine’s president was also invited to the November summit.

ASEAN Snubbed by President Biden

Meanwhile, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, opened a summit of Asean leaders with a commitment to spend $150 million on infrastructure, security, pandemic preparedness, and other measures to counter the influence of rival China.

The $150 million commitment was seen as somewhat of an insult or token gesture by the Biden administration to the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Basically, giving each ASEAN nation US$15 million.

Biden’s token commitments come after China pledged $1.5 billion in development assistance to ASEAN countries to fight COVID and boost economic recovery for the next three years.

As part of a two-day summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in
The summit marks the first time that ASEAN’s leaders gather as a group at the White House and their first meeting hosted by a U.S. president since 2016.

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