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Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet virtually with Southeast Asian leaders all of next week, the State Department announced on Saturday.

State of play: Blinken will meet with ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as attend other separate meetings. U.S. officials have not always been present in ASEAN meetings, they "have sometimes sent more junior officials to the region's summits," Reuters writes.

  • Recently, the Biden administration has sent more high-profile officials to meet with countries in the region, including Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, per Reuters.
  • Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to visit Singapore and Vietnam in August.

What they're saying: "During these meetings, the Secretary will engage with leaders from across the Indo-Pacific on pressing regional and international issues," the State Department said.

  • "The Secretary will reaffirm the United States’ commitment to ASEAN centrality and to working with ASEAN and international partners to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and support economic recovery."
  • "He will also express grave concerns about the military coup in Burma and call on ASEAN to take joint action to urge the military to end the violence, release all those unjustly detained, and restore Burma’s path to democracy."

Go deeper

Updated Sep 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Blinken on Afghanistan: "We inherited a deadline. We did not inherit a plan"

Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered an unwavering defense of the Biden administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan on Monday, insisting it was "time to end America's longest war" and praising the evacuation from Kabul as "extraordinary."

Why it matters: Blinken, who is appearing Monday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Tuesday before Senate Foreign Relations, is the first senior Biden official to testify on Afghanistan in the wake of the chaotic withdrawal. Tempers flared in the first session, with House Republicans accusing Blinken of lying and demanding his resignation.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
45 mins ago - Science

All-civilian Inspiration4 is back on Earth after flight to space

A side-by-side of the Inspiration4 crew and a shot of their capsule on the way back to Earth. Photo: SpaceX

The all-civilian Inspiration4 crew is back on Earth after their three-day mission in orbit.

The big picture: The launch and landing of this fully amateur, private space crew marks a changing of the guard from spaceflight being a largely government-led venture to being under the purview of private companies.

28 U.S. citizens depart Afghanistan on Qatar Airways flight

Passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft bound to Qatar at the airport in Kabul on September 10, 2021. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Saturday confirmed that a Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents on board.

The big picture: Friday's flight is the third such airlift by Qatar Airways since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, AP reports.