Biden to meet key US allies Japan and South Korea after midterm boost

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

President Joe Biden landed in Cambodia on Saturday always enjoying midterm election results which produced an unexpected boost at home for his second two years in office.

The scale of the challenges abroad and the effort to translate 21 months of intensive engagement into tangible results for U.S. alliances will test the value of this political capital on the international stage even since the votes are always counted.

Biden is set to face a series of tough challenges as he meets Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, key allies in an Indo-Pacific region rocked by a North Korea more and more belligerent. An assertive and divisive China, long a central issue for the Biden administration, also looms large.

Biden will also meet with Kishida and Yoon individually ahead of their trilateral meeting.

Biden’s stop at the summit of Asian nations comes as advisers see a definite boost in reversing historical and political trends in the midterm elections. While Biden’s message won’t change dramatically, the weight behind it is unquestionably stronger after American voters delivered a message that exceeded the hopes of even the most optimistic White House officials.

The trio of world leaders previously met on the sidelines of the NATO summit in June, pledging to boost cooperation – a complicated task for key US allies who have a historically strained relationship.

But such cooperation is imperative as North Korea’s recent increased aggression will be a priority for the trio of leaders on Sunday. North Korea conducted 32-day missile launches this year, according to a CNN count ballistic and cruise missiles. By contrast, he only conducted four tests in 2020 and eight in 2021.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan suggested on Saturday that the meeting would not lead to specific deliverables, telling reporters aboard Air Force One that leaders “could discuss broader security issues in Indo -Pacific and also, more specifically, threats posed by North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.

The trilateral comes a day before a high-stakes one-on-one meeting for Biden with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, their first face-to-face meeting since Biden took office. This meeting will take place on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday morning, Biden said he entered the meeting with Xi from a position of relative strength.

“I know I’m coming in stronger,” he said, noting that he knew Xi well and that there were “very few misunderstandings” between the two leaders.

“We just have to figure out what are the red lines and what are the most important things for each of us in the next few years,” Biden said.

Biden, Yoon and Fumio will also discuss Monday’s meeting at the Trilateral Meeting.

“One thing that President Biden certainly wants to do with our closest allies is to preview what he intends to do, and also to ask the leaders (of South Korea) and Japan, ‘What would you that I raise? What do you want me to get into? Said Sullivan, adding that “it will be a topic but it will not be the main event of the trilateral”.

Earlier on Sunday, Biden will attend the East Asia summit, building on Saturday’s attendance at the ASEAN summit aimed at bolstering U.S.-Indo-Pacific relations. He then meets Fumio and Yoon before leaving for Bali.

This leg of the trip, a senior administration official told reporters on a call earlier this week, reflects “increased engagement with ASEAN and with Southeast Asia” under the Biden administration. .

Biden, the official added, “will lay out our vision to maintain an increased pace of engagement and also try to address important concerns for ASEAN in the way they seek,” in line with an ongoing theme during the Biden presidency. building alliances in strategic competition with China.

Among the main topics of discussion this weekend in Cambodia, the official said, is the ongoing conflict in Myanmar, where the military seized power in a coup last year.

World leaders will discuss “efforts to promote respect for human rights, the rule of law and good governance, the rules-based international order, as well as to resolve the current crisis in Burma”.

Biden arrived in Phnom Penh on Saturday, holding a bilateral meeting with ASEAN President and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, and attending the ASEAN-US summit.

“This is my third trip, my third summit – my second in person, and it speaks to the importance the United States places on our relationship with ASEAN and our commitment to ASEAN centrality. “ASEAN is at the heart of my administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy. And we continue to reinforce our commitment to working closely with a strengthened and unified ASEAN,” Biden said in a brief opening address at the start of the summit.

On Friday, Biden made a three-hour layover in Sharm El Shiekh, Egypt, where he attended the COP27 climate summit and met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *