US President Joe Biden has embarked on his first diplomatic trip to Asia since taking office in a bid to address security issues in the wake of Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific and a series of ballistic missile tests in Pyongyang.
I’m on my way to the Republic of Korea and Japan on my first trip to Asia as President. I look forward to strengthening vital security alliances, deepening our economic partnerships, and working with other democracies to help shape the rules of the road for the 21st century.
– President Biden (POTUS) May 20 2022
Biden is expected to meet with his South Korean counterpart Yoon Sok-yeol and then head to Japan on Sunday, where he will meet with his counterpart Fumio Kishida and meet later next week with heads of state of the Quartet.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join the meeting. Anthony Albanese or Scott Morrison of Australia is expected, but it remains unclear how this quartet member will represent themselves as the nation will vote to elect its new prime minister.
The meeting will be significant as it provides the Biden administration to show its Asian allies that despite the war in Ukraine, it is eager to demonstrate American leadership in the region.
Biden earlier promised that democracies in the eastern and western hemispheres could unite with the United States to confront authoritarian regimes in both realms. The meeting also comes shortly after Biden hosted ASEAN leaders at the White House in May.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan expressed confidence in the success of the two summits. Backed by a $40 billion aid package from Ukraine approved by Congress on Thursday that is believed to have demonstrated the United States’ commitment to the Ukrainian resistance, Sullivan said the transatlantic alliance against Russia is a cautionary tale for a China that tends to make a play for Taiwan. .
“They are shocked by the way the transatlantic alliance has come together to impose economic costs on Russia as a result of this aggression,” Sullivan was quoted as saying by AFP.
The Biden administration has also admired the governments of South Korea and Japan for following the line they drew regarding sanctions against Russia. South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol, who is pro-American, gave Biden a standing ovation as he boarded Air Force One.
“The mountain is making its way to the top for those who seek it. I am confident that the alliance between the Republic of Korea and the United States that seeks to uphold the values of democracy and human rights will only rise in the future.”
However, the US president does not expect a warm welcome from Kim Jong-un, the so-called supreme leader of North Korea, who may order a nuclear test during Biden’s trip. Sullivan said the United States is ready for North Korea to once again defy UN sanctions, but if that happens, it will lead to “adjustments to the way the (US) military is positioned in the region.”
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