Jakarta's Diplomatic Spotlight: Kamala Harris Set to Represent the U.S. at Jakarta's U.S.–ASEAN Summit

Jakarta's Diplomatic Spotlight: Kamala Harris Set to Represent the U.S. at Jakarta's U.S.–ASEAN Summit
Image by

In a headline-grabbing announcement on Tuesday (8/22), the White House revealed that U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will be the official U.S. representative at the ASEAN Summit in Jakarta on Sept. 4-7. Meanwhile, the spotlight is also on President Joe Biden, who will attend the G20 Summit in New Delhi, India, from September 7-10.

In making the announcement, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan emphasized that President Biden will reaffirm the U.S. commitment to the G20, while also signaling the U.S. readiness to host the forum in 2026.

Responding to observations and questions about President Biden's absence from the ASEAN Summit and the U.S. commitment to the Asia-Pacific region, Sullivan emphasized that the U.S. has steadily consolidated its position in the region through a series of meetings that President Biden has attended since 2021. Thus, the impression of U.S. determination to strengthen its ties in the region remains, even if President Biden's physical presence at the ASEAN Summit did not materialize in this context.

Harris and ASEAN leaders will assess the "unprecedented expansion of U.S.-ASEAN relations" under the Biden administration. The visit also reaffirms the United States' long-term commitment to Southeast Asia and the importance of ASEAN's central role. This statement was released by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and quoted on the White House website.

Through this summit and other active participation, the Vice President will advance a number of initiatives to enhance shared prosperity and security. These include measures to address the climate crisis, strengthen maritime security, develop infrastructure, and promote economic growth, as well as efforts to implement and strengthen international norms in the region and address other regional and global challenges.

Earlier, in November 2022, President Joe Biden personally attended the U.S.-ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This came six months after he hosted the historic U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit in Washington DC. Meanwhile, this is the Vice President's third visit to Southeast Asia in two years, following his trip to Singapore and Vietnam in August 2021 and his visit to Thailand and the Philippines in November 2022.

Thank you for reading until here