NONTHABURI, Thailand (AP) — U.S. President Donald Trump invited Southeast Asian leaders to a «special summit» in the United States early next year, after not attending the region’s annual summit in Thailand.Robert O’Brien, the national security adviser trump sent instead, included the invitation in a Trump missive that he read Monday at an ASEAN and U.S. meeting held at a separate association of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations , which groups 10 countries.
Normally, the meeting with the United States would have been attended by presidents or prime ministers. But in a strong adherence to the diplomatic protocol, seven of the 10 ASEAN countries sent their foreign ministers.Only the host of the summit, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chancha, and the prime ministers of Vietnam and Laos attended the meeting with O’Brien and the chancellors sent by their partners. Last year, Trump sent vice president Mike Pence to the annual ASEAN summit and its associated meetings. This year, both he and Pence were engaged in campaign events during the event, which ended Monday outside Bangkok, Trump’s Tailandia.La absence capital left plenty of room for China and other regional powers to promote their initiatives. Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were some of the leaders who met with their ASEAN counterparts during the summit. In addition to O’Brien, Washington sent Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on a trade mission to the region. Despite Trump’s apparent downgrade of ASEAN, companies and the U.S. government were trying to emphasize his commitment to the region with a private lyte conference with some 1,000 company and government representatives. There, Ross presented a series of trade and investment figures between the United States and what Washington has dubbed the «Indo-Pacific region.» In his statement to ASEAN members, O’Brien criticized China, noting that Beijing «has used intimidation to try to prevent ASEAN nations from exploiting their resources on the high seas, blocking access to $2.5 trillion only in oil and gas reserves. These tactics are against the norms of respect, justice and international law.» The region has no interest in a new imperial era in which a large country can rule others over the theory that force grants rights. America helps our Friends in ASEAN impose their sovereignty,» he said. ASEAN members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Together they represent a thriving regional market with almost 650 million people.
Original source in Spanish