China and the United States will participate in a video conference of 18 Asia-Pacific countries on Wednesday. President Vladimir Putin of Russia will also attend the East Asia Summit to address several topics with the other ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
ASEAN members compose of Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Brunei. However, Washington Examiner (via Yahoo! News) said Myanmar was barred from attending a conference on Tuesday after a military coup earlier this year.
According to the Associated Press (via MSN News), the World Health Organization will update the leaders on COVID-19. The said pandemic slowed the economies of the 18 Asian nations that account for more than half of the world’s population and over 60 percent of global GDP.
US to Join ASEAN Meetings After 4 Years
This year’s event will also include US President Joe Biden. In 2017, the last time a US president attended an ASEAN gathering was in Manila. Following that, Donald Trump’s government reduced its involvement in regional events in Southeast Asia.
According to a White House statement, Biden will reiterate US’s unwavering commitment to ASEAN’s pivotal role in regional affairs and propose new efforts to enhance strategic collaboration with the organization.
Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin will deliver a speech by video linkup during the summit.
The president is prepared to participate in a session of the East Asia Summit via videoconference. Putin would also have a session of the fourth Russia-ASEAN summit on October 27 and 28, respectively, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.
TASS asked about the topics that President Putin plans to address in his speeches. Peskov pointed out that the East Asia summit relates to the economic development of the Asia-Pacific region, the pandemic, the work with the pandemic’s consequences, the development of economic interaction, tourism, and other ties in the region.
Because of the pandemic, Peskov said Russia’s engagement has slowed over the last two years. However, the country admitted they must explore together ways to strengthen their collaboration with the ASEAN members.
According to Peskov, there is “much potential” for this. Most significantly, the official said both the association’s nations and Russia are keen to increase this cooperation.
China To Improve Ties With ASEAN Members
China aims to improve its cooperation with the ASEAN members, according to a Bloomberg report. The nation has also called for a special meeting next month, which will be attended by President Xi Jinping.
Bloomberg added that China strives to enhance its influence in a region where the United States is also pushing for influence. China has also shown an interest in joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.