February 2, 2023

Biden will visit South Korea and Japan next month as he works to keep focus on Asia

4 min read

Officials say Biden will hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts in each country: Korean President-elect Yoon Seok-yul, who is scheduled to inaugurate May 10, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kashida. In Tokyo, Biden is also scheduled to meet with leaders from Japan, Australia and India at a Quad Partners meeting, which has been revived on his initiative.

The purpose of the trip is to “deepen the relationship between our governments, our economies and our people,” Press Secretary Jane Sackie said in a statement. The visit will further the Biden-Harris administration’s strong commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and to the US alliance with the Republic of Korea and Japan. “

Looming on the trip will be a break. North Korea’s weapons testsWhich has alarmed US officials and prompted repeated threats from the Hermitage Kingdom. During a major military parade this week, the country’s dictator Kim Jong Un pledged to “strengthen and develop” its nuclear forces at “the highest possible speed”, giving a glimpse of his ambitions for months to come. Are

The four-day trip to Asia comes at a critical juncture in Biden’s presidency, as he seeks to unite the United States and its allies against Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine, with rising civilian casualties and escalating fighting. between. Conflict in Europe has been a troubling issue for the president’s second year in power, with the United States pledging billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine and imposing numerous economic sanctions on Russia. In the midst of Russia’s attacks on Ukraine, Biden has stressed that he believes US alliances in the Indo-Pacific are key to maintaining a “rule of law” worldwide.

At the same time, the conflict has highlighted the continuing threats posed by historical enemies such as Russia, even as Biden seeks to reshape US foreign policy in Asia to counter China’s growing influence. works. Biden is the third consecutive US president to express a desire to focus on the region, but this visit, 16 months after his presidency, has seen most presidents visit Asia. Biden’s trip has been hampered. Covid 19 epidemic.

White House aides insist they are able to focus on Asia at a time when the world is in crisis over Ukraine. And officials say they are pleasantly surprised by the willingness of US allies in Asia, including Japan and South Korea, to join the system of international sanctions designed to crush Russia’s economy. Japan and South Korea have also diverted some of their natural gas supplies to Europe as it seeks to rid itself of Russian energy imports.

Biden spoke on the phone last month with former conservative former prosecutor Yoon when he was named the winner of the South Korean election, replacing outgoing President Moon Jae-in. During the call, the White House said that at the time, the pair discussed, among other things, the dangers posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, and other global issues, such as CoVID-19 and climate change.

North Korea, which Biden identified as the biggest foreign policy challenge early in his presidency, has resumed provocative weapons tests ahead of the inauguration of the UN. The Biden administration has tried to resume diplomacy with Pyongyang, but has received little response. Yoon, meanwhile, has vowed to tighten South Korea’s line against North Korea as Moon seeks to boost diplomacy – including a series of meetings with then-President Donald Trump’s Kim. In order

During Trump’s last visit to Seoul as president, he toured the demilitarized zone, where he shook hands with Kim and Stepped on the demarcation line In North Korea. Previous presidents have visited the much stronger border area, but it was not clear if Biden intended to make similar stops.

Since taking over as prime minister last fall, Biden has already held several talks with Kashida this year. Most recently, the two leaders attended an emergency summit in Brussels, Belgium, in March, amid Russian attacks on Ukraine. Earlier this month, the four quad leaders made a call, during which they agreed to meet in person in Tokyo later this year.

Biden’s visit to South Korea and Japan also comes at a time when US officials are watching China’s moves toward the war in Ukraine. The Biden administration has repeatedly said that if Beijing supports the Kremlin’s efforts in Ukraine, it will face serious consequences, and that it will continue to help spread Russian propaganda and misinformation about the war. Therefore, the Chinese have spoken out strongly against the efforts.

The Asia tour will take place a few days after Biden hosted the Association of Southeast Asian Leaders in Washington on May 12 and 13. Announcing the summit, White House Press Secretary Jane Sackie said the gathering would “demonstrate the continued commitment of the United States. ASEAN recognizes its central role in providing lasting solutions to the region’s most pressing challenges.” And commemorates 45 years of US-ASEAN relations. “

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