Biden should push Asian leaders to criticize Russia
President Joe Biden should push South Asian leaders to speak out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) traveled to the White House on Thursday for a special two-day summit between the United States and ASEAN. Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Asian leaders on Friday.
In addition to reaffirming partnerships and discussing climate, maritime and public health infrastructure, Ukraine will be on the summit’s agenda, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
“I will say that a number of ASEAN participants have been important partners in speaking out against Russia’s aggressive action,” she said, and “in participating and supporting the sanctions and, certainly, respecting them”.
PSAKI said there will be a “broad discussion” on Ukraine as the United States sets out its approach to war against Russia.
She added that the White House believes ASEAN leaders want to hear about the US plan and will send a statement later Friday afternoon.
With the exception of Singapore, which imposed direct sanctions on Moscow, the other nine ASEAN members have not publicly criticized President Vladimir Putin or Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
“Our hope is to see the war in Ukraine end as soon as possible, and we are giving the peaceful resolution of a conflict a chance to succeed,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters ahead of a meeting with Secretary Blinken on Friday. “Because we know that if the war continues, we will all suffer.”
The summit comes ahead of Biden’s trip to South Korea and Japan next week, his first visit to Asia as president.