National security adviser, Commerce Secretary to represent Trump at Asian summit

National security adviser, Commerce Secretary to represent Trump at Asian summit
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National security adviser Robert O'Brien and Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossCentral Asia is changing: the Biden administration should pay close attention Census Bureau can't meet Trump's deadline for data on undocumented immigrants: report On The Money: Trump makes a late pitch on the economy | US economy records record GDP gains after historic COVID-19 drop | Pelosi eyes big COVID-19 deal in lame duck MORE will visit two regional summits in Thailand on President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE's behalf this weekend, the White House announced Tuesday.

According to The Associated Press, O'Brien, who isn't technically a part of Trump's Cabinet, will attend the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and the subsequent East Asia summit.


At both summits, O'Brien, who became Trump's national security adviser in September after John BoltonJohn BoltonPressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win Sunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday Bolton calls on GOP leadership to label Trump's behavior 'inexcusable' MORE was ousted, will engage in sideline talks that include other major players in the region, including China, Japan and South Korea.

Ross will head a trade delegation Nov. 3-8 in Bangkok and is set to speak at an Indo-Pacific Business Forum on Monday, the AP reports. 

While Trump attended the summits in 2017, Vice President Pence attended the meetings last year in lieu of the president. 

Busadee Santipataks, director-general of Thailand's Foreign Ministry’s Department of Information, told the AP that "the presence of the U.S. in these meetings will surely contribute constructively to these ASEAN-U.S. meetings.”

However, a major part of the summit that won't include the U.S. is the working of the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. The free-trade agreement would include all members of ASEAN and China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.

If the agreement comes to fruition it would reportedly create one of the world's largest trading blocs, accounting for roughly 45 percent of the world’s population and nearly a third of global gross domestic product.