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President Joe Biden will visit Japan and South Korea next month to underscore his commitment to a region where China has been trying to assert dominance and where North Korea has been stepping up missile tests, the White House announced Wednesday.
The trip will focus attention on a part of the world overshadowed by the war in Ukraine for the past two months.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the visit, from May 20 to May 24, would ‘deepen ties between our governments and people.’
He will meet with Korean President-elect Yoon Suk Yeol, who is due to be inaugurated on May 10, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
There will also be a meeting with the other three leaders of the Quad grouping of Australia, Japan, India.
‘This trip will advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s rock-solid commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and to U.S. treaty alliances with the Republic of Korea and Japan,’ said Psaki.
President Joe Biden will visit Japan and North Korea next month as his administration seeks to keep a focus on Asia despite two months of war in Ukraine
Kim Jong-un appeared this week at military parade to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army in Pyongyang, North Korea
Multiple rocket launcher vehicles take part in a nighttime military parade to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army
Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missiles take part in a nighttime military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea
The trip will be Biden’s fourth overseas visit since taking office. He traveled to Poland and Belgium in March following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Asia trips come as China has been growing more assertive in the Indo-Pacific region, laying claim to territory and stepping up its aggressive rhetoric directed at Taiwan.
At the same time, North Korea has launched a string of missile tests. The country’s leader Kim Jong-un this week promised to ‘strengthen and develop’ his nuclear forces.
The trip comes at an important moment in the Biden presidency, as he tries to keep allies united against Russia at a time when he had been working to direct U.S. foreign policy towards Asia as part of an effort to counter China’s rise.
In a sign of the forces at work, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held a rare phone call with his Chinese counterpart last week who warned him that Taiwan is part of China – amid signals that Russia’s war on Ukraine is impacting how planners are viewing a potential conflict.
Taiwan is a part of China and no one can change that, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said on Wednesday during a rare phone call with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, according to a statement from Beijing.
‘If the Taiwan issue were not handled properly, it would have a damaging impact on Sino-U.S. relations,’ Wei added, according to statement published by the defense ministry.
Wei ‘expounded his solemn position on the Taiwan issue and stressed that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. It is a fact and reality that no one can change,’ according to the Beijing readout.
The call comes as the U.S. has repeatedly urged China not to provide military support to Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Moscow, in turn, has fired off a diplomatic letter to Washington urging the U.S. to stop arming Ukraine.