Cambodia is the host country of the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). US President Joe Biden arrived in the country on Saturday (November 12) to attend the conference. Apart from Biden, the summit will be attended by many leaders including Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and South Korean President Yoon.

Southeast Asian heads of government held talks with visiting world leaders on Saturday and were scheduled to meet with US President Joe Biden, Reuters reported. Because of the growing rivalry between China and Western powers around this region.

The G-20 Summit is scheduled to be held in Bali, Indonesia on November 15-16. Biden will go there by attending the ASEAN conference. With both the ASEAN and G20 summits being held in Asia, the region is set to be a gathering place for world leaders.

Analysts expect to tackle complex global issues ranging from the war in Ukraine, climate and regional tensions over the Taiwan Strait, the South China Sea and North Korea. Because this is the first event of the top series conference in Southeast Asia for the next seven days.

South Korean President Yoon proposed a three-way dialogue with China and Japan at the ASEAN meeting on Saturday. His proposal aims for the leadership summit to play a role in addressing future crises in areas such as the impact of war, food and energy security, and climate protection.

Yun also said that North Korea’s efforts to increase its nuclear and missile capabilities are a serious threat to the international community that needs to be responded to with one voice.

Japan’s Kishida agrees with these concerns. He highlighted North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launch. One of these missiles flew over Japan.

During a brief exchange with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Kishida said the two countries should strive to build a ‘constructive and stable’ relationship.

Analysts consider Biden’s visit to Asia to be a ‘return to normal US diplomacy’. Because Biden will focus on the Indo-Pacific region and talk about the US commitment to a rules-based international order in the South China Sea in his talks, senior administration officials said earlier this week.

Some analysts believe that Biden’s presence, while not a dramatic development, is yet another indication that the US is returning to ‘normal diplomacy’.

Greg Poling, head of the Southeast Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said, ‘President Trump has not attended a single East Asia summit during his four years in office. One of the outcomes of the visit will be to elevate the US-ASEAN partnership to a comprehensive strategic partnership. It doesn’t mean anything concrete, but symbolically it puts the US on the same level as China.’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will also attend some of the meetings in Phnom Penh. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kulebo is in Cambodia after signing an agreement on harmony and cooperation with ASEAN. Because Kyiv wants to strengthen relations with the bloc.

Kuleba said that he had direct discussions with several leaders of ASEAN countries. During the talks, he urged them to condemn Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and warned them not to remain neutral in their interests.

“I call on all ASEAN members to take all possible measures to prevent Russia from playing the hunger game with the world,” Kuleba told a news conference.

(12 November)