Washington: Amid growing alarm over the coronavirus, the United States on Friday (local time) postponed a special summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders.
“As the international community works together to defeat the novel coronavirus, the United States, in consultation with ASEAN partners, has made the difficult decision to postpone the ASEAN leaders meeting previously scheduled for mid-March,” Voice of America quoted a senior administration official as saying.
The official added, “The United States values our relationships with the nations of this critical region and looks forward to future meetings.”
The summit was scheduled to be held in Las Vegas in the second week of March. Moreover, bilateral meetings were planned between US President Donald Trump and the leaders of ASEAN countries.
“The American business community recognizes the importance of this summit for the leaders of ASEAN and for the US government as it pertains to the Indo-Pacific strategy,” Elizabeth Dugan, president of US-ASEAN Business Council, said after the postponement.
Dugan added that the organization looked forward to working closely with the US and ASEAN leadership to ensure the success of this important engagement at a later date.
The coronavirus outbreak has led to the cancellation of a number of international events across the world.
According to the authorities, at least 2,835 people have lost their lives in China alone and more than 84,500 people are infected with the virus worldwide.
Coronavirus has spread to more than 45 other countries including the US, UK, Singapore, Italy, France, Russia, Spain, and India.
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