President Donald Trump has invited Southeast Asian leaders to a “special summit” in the United States early next year after skipping their annual summit.
Robert O’Brien, the national security adviser Trump sent in his stead, included the invitation in a letter from Trump that he read at a U.S.-ASEAN meeting on Monday on the sidelines of the summit of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations on the outskirts of Thailand’s capital.
That meeting normally would be attended by presidents or prime ministers. But since O’Brien is not even a member of Trump’s Cabinet, seven of the 10 ASEAN countries sent their foreign ministers instead in what appeared to be a pointed adherence to diplomatic protocol.
O’Brien made a swipe at China, accusing it of intimidating ASEAN members.