President Joe Biden announced today he will be attending the U.S. ASEAN Summit hosted by Southeast Asian countries. The summit has been skipped by former President Donald Trump consecutively for four years, but that streak is about to be broken this year.

The U.S. ASEAN Summit is a key event due to the deterioration between America and China’s relationship ever since the U.S. stopped attending the summit. It is hosted by ASEAN member states to further and nurture political, economic and social causes between ASEAN as well as external countries and organizations.

The last attendance of a U.S. president was at the ASEAN-U.S. meeting held in Manila, attended by former President Donald Trump in 2017. After that, there has been no other in-person or otherwise attendance of the U.S. as a state in that particular geography of Asia either.

The official announcement from the president’s office came, “The President’s participation in these summits demonstrates our commitment to the region and to a free-and-open Indo-Pacific and to supporting the security and prosperity of our partners.”

The summit has already been kicked off, and not to a good start as the Myanmar junta representative has been kept from attending due to their ignorance of the peace deal. The ruling military in the state refused to send a junior officer to attend and said they would only attend if the head of state or ministerial representative were allowed to do so, meaning the summit continued without them.

This is also why the U.S. ASEAN Summit presence is so critically positive and important, as it will show the U.S. is willing to extend a good to hand and reach for allies. The announcement from the White House also included mention of the Biden administration planning to extend $102 million to the ASEAN summit organization in order to further its strategic partnership.