On his first trip to Asia as president of the United States, Joe Biden will visit Japan and South Korea, conveying a strong message to China, according to aides and analysts.
After months of mobilizing allies to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow refers to as a "special operation," Biden embarks on his five-day trip on Friday.
He visits the new president of South Korea, Yoon Suk-yeol, in Seoul and the prime minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, in Tokyo, both of whom share his concerns about North Korea and China and are keen to strengthen their longstanding connections with the United States.
Evan Medeiros, an Asia expert in the Obama administration, stated that the primary objective of the trip is to expand the alliance network in East Asia in order to resist any Chinese measures against Taiwan.
Biden's sweeping penalties against Russia would not be so straightforward against Beijing. China is South Korea's biggest trade partner and Japan's largest source of imported goods, surpassing the United States by a substantial margin in each case.
Complicating Biden's message is the fact that his administration has not spelled out a plan to oppose Beijing if it moves to reclaim Taiwan, despite US intelligence detecting preparations.
Similar to the lack of a public strategy to challenge Beijing's no-COVID-19 lockdown policy, which some economists say could trigger a worldwide recession, there is no public strategy to counter Beijing's lockdown policy.
Michael Green, an Asia expert at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, remarked, "The president is fortunate in his choice of counterparts."
"Based on my calculations, it has been at least 20 years since an American president could fly to Japan and Korea and rely on the leaders of both nations to be so openly pro-alliance," Green said.
Biden is anticipated to offer expanded collaboration to allies on a variety of technological initiatives and highlight new public-private partnerships to alleviate supply chain constraints.
Biden is also expected to provide support for South Korean and Japanese initiatives to modernize their defense capabilities and develop offensive military capabilities.
Analysts said he will not visit the demilitarized zone that borders North Korea, and the administration has no new ideas for managing the tense relationship.
North Korea just disclosed it is battling an epidemic of COVID-19, but it has rebuffed demands to return to negotiation and appears unwilling to accept even Chinese assistance.