fredag 21. mai 2021

The leaders of South Korea and Japan are Biden's first two visitors to the US, underscoring Asia's importance

History is repeating itself in Washington.The White House is, once again, attempting to navigate a pivot to Asia. But seemingly intractable problems in the Middle East are still drawing focus away from issues of the Indo-Pacific.As the world watches to see if a newly announced ceasefire between Israel and Hamas will hold -- following the bloodiest conflict between the two sides since 2014 -- United States President Joe Biden will host his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in for an important summit that may set the tone for how the longtime allies work together for the next several months.

Moon's visit will only be the second time Biden has hosted another world leader in-person since taking office in January. The normal flurry of visits that accompany the early weeks of a new presidency was absent this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The first, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, came last month. Hosting Japan first -- as former President Donald Trump did -- and South Korea second, is a clear indication the new President and his advisers view the Asia Pacific region as their biggest long-term priority overseas. 

Biden's secretaries of state and defense have already visited both Tokyo and Seoul. Military leaders from the three countries met in Hawaii in late April. And White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan hosted his Japanese and South Korean counterparts shortly before that.