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US President Joe Biden pledged over USD100mn in funding to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Tuesday when speaking to the virtual leaders' summit earlier today.

  • Biden stated that ASEAN was 'vital' to protecting a 'free and open' Indo-Pacific, confirming that "...we intend to launch a new program and initiatives to enhance our cooperation across the range of issues totaling more than $100 million..."ASEAN is] a linchpin for maintaining resilience, of prosperity and security of our shared region,"
  • The funds are intended to go towards assisting US-ASEAN cooperation on combating climate change, improving healthcare, and growing the region's economy.
  • ASEAN is one of the major politico-economic blocs in the region, and crucially for the US does not include China. While the US is seeking to develop more international blocs in the region to combat China's economic expansion and growing political influence, bolstering existing blocs such as ASEAN could also prove fruitful for China hawks in the US administration.