WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will announce plans to provide up to $102 million to expand the U.S. strategic partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at a virtual summit with the 10-nation bloc on Tuesday, the White House said.
The U.S. funding will go towards health, climate, economic and education programs, a White House factsheet said.
Of the total, $40 million will go to an initiative to help address the current COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen ASEAN’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to future outbreaks of infectious diseases, it said.
A further $20.5 million will go to help tackle the climate crisis and up to $20 million to support cooperation on trade and innovation. Another $17.5 million is earmarked for education projects and $4 million to promote gender equality and equity, it said.
Biden’s participation in the virtual summit will mark the first time in four years that Washington will engage at the top level with a bloc that it sees as key to its strategy of pushing back against China.
On Wednesday, Biden will also take part in the broader East Asia Summit, which brings together ASEAN and other nations in the Indo-Pacific region, a senior official of the U.S. administration said.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Christopher Cushing)