President Obama is in Asia this week, attending the G-20 Summit in Hangzhou, China and the US-ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit (EAS), both in Vientiane, Laos. At both the EAS and the US-ASEAN Summit, President Obama will have the opportunity to speak with leaders from the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The trip is historic in that it is both Obama’s first trip to Laos as president, as well as his final trip to Asia before the end of his term. In a recent piece for Yale Global, Dr. Satu Limaye, Director of the East-West Center in Washington, makes the case for continuing to engage Southeast Asia beyond strategic factors and explains how the US has strengthened political, cultural, commercial ties with ASEAN that will last long after Obama leaves office.
Earlier this year, the ASEAN leaders also came to the US for a meeting with Obama at Sunnylands in California, where a new initiative was rolled out to further strengthen US economic engagement in Southeast Asia.
For additional information on ASEAN’s importance to the US and vice versa, please see the most recent ASEAN Matters for America/America Matters for ASEAN publication and explore these facts and figures on trade, investment, students, and more.