Biden to announce up to $102 million in funding for U.S.-ASEAN partnership

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By Reuters
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<div> <p><span class="caps">WASHINGTON</span> – 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 (<span class="caps">ASEAN</span>) at a virtual summit with the 10-nation bloc on Tuesday, the White House said.</p> <p>The U.S. funding will go towards health, climate, economic and education programs, a White House factsheet said.</p> <p>Of the total, $40 million will go to an initiative to help address the current <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 pandemic and strengthen <span class="caps">ASEAN</span>’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to future outbreaks of infectious diseases, it said.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>On Wednesday, Biden will also take part in the broader East Asia Summit, which brings together <span class="caps">ASEAN</span> and other nations in the Indo-Pacific region, a senior official of the U.S. administration said.</p> <p/> </div>