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Biden set his foreign policy goals far beyond Ukraine

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Biden set his foreign policy goals far beyond Ukraine

Biden set his foreign policy goals far beyond Ukraine

When Joe Biden began his presidency about 15 months ago, Asia-Pacific was the northern star of his foreign policy. However, the Russian occupation of Ukraine has reformulated its international priorities.
The US President is now making final preparations for a major trip to Japan and South Korea, which will take place from May 20-24. It is the first in the region since it entered the Oval Office last year.
The trip will see a determined effort to refocus U.S. attention, including the expected launch of a new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework strategy. While Russia remains the main immediate threat to Washington’s security interests, recent developments have done little to change the administration’s view that China remains the main and long-term challenge.
While Biden will promote important bilateral agendas in Japan and South Korea, the main focus of attention will be the leadership meeting of the four powers of India, the US, Japan and Australia, which will be hosted by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Although the Quartet Security Dialogue was initiated in 2007, it has been in much greater focus in recent years.
The importance that the Biden team attaches to this loose alliance was illustrated last year when the White House hosted and hosted the first personal meeting of the four powers’s leadership, which was attended by Scott Morrison, Narendra Modi and Yoshihide Suga. the prime ministers of Australia, India and Japan respectively.
While some have downplayed the group’s importance, its importance as an alliance against emerging China was supported by the announcement last year by London, Washington and Canberra of a tripartite security partnership to safeguard common interests in the Indo-Pacific, with Beijing . again the undeclared focal focal point.
The main goal of the forthcoming Quad meeting is to advance a common vision for a free and open Asia-Pacific, with all leaders in an agreement on the threat from China. This is despite the lack of unanimity within the group for Russia, with India an extraordinary country given its refusal to condemn the invasion of Ukraine.

While his immediate external focus is Ukraine, Biden knows that relations with Japan, India and Australia are among the most important in current international relations.

Andrew Hammond

So at the top of the agenda will be Beijing and its growing security, which the four leaders perceive is undermining their vision for a free and open regional landscape. Take, for example, the ongoing tensions in the South China Sea, where not only Japan and the US, but also other countries like Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei are at odds with China over the waters through which maritime trade is around $ 5 trillion. passes every year.
There will be some aspects of the quadrilateral discussions that will be particularly sensitive from China’s perspective, including Taiwan’s security and its future as a democracy. The group leaders are said to be discussing the importance of stability in the Taiwan Strait, a move that China claims will harm its national interests.
Beijing claims sovereignty over Taipei, which now counts Tokyo among its closest allies. Any future conflict between the straits would affect Japan, whose westernmost inhabited island, Yonaguni, lies less than 70 miles off the east coast of Taiwan. The island is home to about 1,700 citizens and 200 soldiers, and Tokyo is planning to increase its troop presence there.
These developments will only increase tensions in China’s relations with the Quad nations, especially with the US, which could still flare up badly. Since a meeting in Alaska last year between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, the music of humor has been silent at best, with the Biden administration maintaining the toughest policies foreign and economic to Beijing that were introduced by the President. Donald Trump.
However, China will not be the only focus of the Quad meeting. North Korea is also causing new unrest following missile tests it conducted this year, the most recent of which was on Thursday. Quad will not only condemn those tests, which violated UN Security Council resolutions, but will also reiterate calls for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
On the economic front, Kishida will discuss with Biden whether he can reverse Trump’s decision to suspend US participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. It is a trade and investment deal that was originally intended to close Washington in a deeper partnership with its allies in the region.
There are major concerns in Tokyo that the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework strategy could hurt the CPTPP. Japan made some deep concessions partly prompted by the Barack Obama administration, where Biden was a key part of ensuring that the CPTPP could be signed in February 2016, only for Trump to pull out of the deal a year later.
All of this, taken together, is why Bidens’s journey is so important. While his immediate external focus is Ukraine, he knows that relations with Japan, India and Australia are among the most important in current international relations and that what has been agreed, regarding China and North Korea in particular, will affect not only the region but the whole world.

  • Andrew Hammond is an associate at LSE IDEAS at the London School of Economics.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by the writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arab News.

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