The ASEAN-USA Summit. US Showcases US ‘Value Partnership’ With Southeast Asia: Prime Minister Lee

Biden also announced Friday that he would nominate his chief of staff and executive secretary at the National Security Council, Yohannes Abraham, to serve as ambassador to ASEAN.

ASEAN has not had a US ambassador since January 2017.

On Friday, Mr. Lee also met with Special Presidential Climate Envoy John Kerry for a bilateral meeting and attended a working lunch hosted by Ms. Harris focused on maritime cooperation and pandemic recovery. .

RUSSIAN INVASION OF UKRAINE

Lee responded to reporters’ questions about ASEAN leaders’ engagement with Biden on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

While ASEAN took a stand and issued a statement “as a whole”, the statement “is not as strong as it could be” because different countries have different views, he said.

For example, when the UN General Assembly voted to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, Vietnam and Laos abstained while the other countries voted in favor, Lee noted. Singapore also abstained in the vote.

“If you look at the national statements and the national actions, I think the Singapore one is the most direct statement we put out and we also had some specific sanctions against Russia,” he said, adding that Cambodia also took a strong stance on the issue. .

“I think Prime Minister Hun Sen was quite clear and emphatic in his explanation of his position that there must be absolute rules against violating the territorial integrity and sovereignty and independence of other countries. Otherwise, where do they stand?” small countries? Mr. Lee said.

CABINET CHANGES MAY COME NEXT MONTH

The prime minister also told reporters he could make cabinet changes in early June.

Lee was responding to a question about whether there were any updates on cabinet moves and succession plans, about a month after Finance Minister Lawrence Wong was elected leader of the Action Party’s fourth-generation or 4G leadership team. Popular (PAP). .

The announcement, made on April 14 in Singapore, paves the way for Wong to become Singapore’s next Prime Minister. He was the first choice by an “overwhelming majority”, retired minister Khaw Boon Wan said at the time.

“I had to focus on this trip and I have another trip in two weeks to go to the Nikkei conference (in Japan),” Lee said. “But I’m working on it. Hopefully I can do it once I’m done with my travels, which means early June.”

At a press conference after Wong was named 4G leader in April, Lee had said that whether he or Wong would lead the PAP in the upcoming election was a decision to be made later.

“I will discuss with Lawrence, and then we will decide what is the best strategy for us to fight in the next general election,” the prime minister told reporters at the time, adding that it would depend on “how things develop.”

The next general election must be held in 2025.

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