Secretary Blinken to meet with Southeast Asian officials next week

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet virtually with Southeast Asian leaders all of next week, the State Department announced on Saturday.

State of play: Blinken will meet with ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as attend other separate meetings. U.S. officials have not always been present in ASEAN meetings, they "have sometimes sent more junior officials to the region's summits," Reuters writes.

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  • Recently, the Biden administration has sent more high-profile officials to meet with countries in the region, including Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, per Reuters.

  • Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to visit Singapore and Vietnam in August.

What they're saying: "During these meetings, the Secretary will engage with leaders from across the Indo-Pacific on pressing regional and international issues," the State Department said.

  • "The Secretary will reaffirm the United States’ commitment to ASEAN centrality and to working with ASEAN and international partners to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and support economic recovery."

  • "He will also express grave concerns about the military coup in Burma and call on ASEAN to take joint action to urge the military to end the violence, release all those unjustly detained, and restore Burma’s path to democracy."

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