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Biden’s Visit to South Korea, Japan Will Send a ‘Powerful Message’ About American Leadership

U.S. President Joe Biden has left the United States for a six-day trip to South Korea and Japan, his first visit to the Indo-Pacific region as president.

He is expected to arrive in South Korea on Friday evening.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told a press briefing on Wednesday that Biden intends to seize “this pivotal moment” to assert “American leadership in the vital region.”

“The message we’re trying to send on this trip is a message of an affirmative vision of what the world can look like if the democracies and open societies of the world stand together to shape the rules of the road, to define the security architecture of the region, to reinforce strong, powerful, historic alliances,” Sullivan said.

“And we think putting that on display over four days—bilaterally with the ROK and Japan, through the Quad, through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework—it will send a powerful message,” he said.

“We think that message will be heard everywhere. We think it will be heard in Beijing,” he said of China, which has been monitoring the Russia-Ukraine war for its ambitions on Taiwan.

“But it is not a negative message, and it’s not targeted at any one country. It’s targeted at an audience the world over about what American leadership, working flanked by allies and like-minded partners, can deliver for people everywhere,” Sullivan added.

Biden will meet with South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol with the two leaders expected to make a joint visit to a Samsung Electronics plant ahead of a summit on Saturday.

“I sincerely welcome President Biden to Seoul,” Yoon said in a tweet. “I am confident the [South Korea-U.S.] alliance that seeks to uphold the values of democracy and human rights shall only elevate in the future.”

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol speaks during an inaugural dinner at a hotel, after his inauguration ceremony at the new presidential office in Seoul, South Korea, on May 10, 2022. (Jeon Heon-Kyun/Pool via Getty Images)

The two leaders will discuss security and economic alliance during the summit, as well as the challenges posed by North Korean missile tests. The White House said Biden will not visit the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

Yoon, who took office on May 10, had promised a tougher stance on North Korea and a stronger U.S. security commitment, saying that preemptive strikes may be necessary if Pyongyang shows signs of an imminent attack.

Washington anticipated that North Korea could conduct its seventh nuclear test during Biden’s visit to Asia. Sullivan said the U.S. military posture had been adjusted as necessary to prepare for any provocation from North Korea.

Biden will depart for Japan on Sunday to meet with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for bilateral talks and attend a Quad summit—involving the United States, Japan, India, and Australia—in Tokyo. He will also launch the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework during his trip to Japan.

Aldgra Fredly

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Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.

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