HANOI, Vietnam (AP) – US President Donald Trump on Saturday left a virtual summit with his South-East Asian counterparts, representing the US at a consistently lower level.
National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said that Trump regretted that he was unable to attend the online summit with 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations but stressed the importance of relations with the region.
Commenting on the opening ceremony, O’Brien said, “In this time of global crisis, the US-ASEAN strategic partnership has become even more important as we work together to combat coronoviruses.” Countries.
Trump attended the ASEAN summit in 2017, but only sent delegates during the last two meetings. A special summit with ASEAN that it was to host in Las Vegas in March was called off due to the Kovid-19 epidemic.
Trump is busy challenging the November 3 presidential results won by Democrat Joe Biden, insisting that he was a victim of electoral fraud. Most countries have accepted Biden’s victory.
The White House said in a statement that O’Brien would represent the US at an East Asia virtual summit on Saturday along with ASEAN, as well as China, Japan and South Korea. Despite Trump’s absence, it said that ASEAN is central to its vision for an “independent and open Indo-Pacific”, Washington’s strategy to counter China’s growing influence in the region.
China dominates the region to expand a large-scale free trade agreement that will begin on Sunday. The treaty, which will cover about a third of the world economy, includes ASEAN countries, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
India supported the plan last year and despite the US $ 2 trillion in trade with the region, it does not include the US.
In his remarks on Saturday, O’Brien led ASEAN as the fourth-largest trading partner for the US on trade worth more than $ 354 billion last year.
We deeply appreciate ASEAN’s efforts to keep key supply chains open, factories operating, and PPE, referring to the personal protective equipment used to protect against coronovirus.
He said the US contributed $ 87 million to combat coronovirus in Southeast Asia, including American-made ventilators and PPE.
“You have your back in the United States and we know you have ours,” he said.