Biden’s Upcoming Asia Trip

With US President Joe Biden heading to Asia today, the focus of the US government will pivot away from the war in Ukraine and Europe for the first time in months. Even though the pivot will be temporary, Biden’s trip to Japan and then South Korea will reveal a glimpse or two at future US economic and security policies and postures in the Western Pacific. As expected, even though Biden’s trip will take him to Japan and South Korea, two staunch US allies, this visit is all about North Korea and China.

Tensions in the region are evident at first glance. China is contending with issues close to home stemming from the latest COVID-19 outbreak on the mainland, redoubled efforts to replenish strategic oil reserves and of course, Taiwan. Then there is North Korea, dealing with its first official outbreak of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, as well as preparing for either a ballistic missile or underground nuclear test in the near future. Washington’s preoccupation with Ukraine and Russia has delayed the Biden administration’s intentions to refocus on Asia this year.

The Ukraine crisis and subsequent war is raising concerns about the ability of the United States to handle simultaneous crises in different parts of the world diplomatically and politically. China’s designs on Taiwan are at the core of these concerns. One of Biden’s primary goals for this trip will be to address the worries of allies and non-aligned regions in the region and demonstrate how solid US security commitments in the region are. The president also needs to address why his administration has failed to apply an economic component to US Indo-Pacific strategy. During this trip, Biden is expected to present the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework as an answer to the economic questions.

4 thoughts on “Biden’s Upcoming Asia Trip

  1. Remember the TPP = why no economic component. IMHO, there are 4 fronts in the Asia Theater.
    1. SK, NK , Japan
    2. East Pacific. Phillipines, Japan, Taiwan, Japan. 1st and 2nd Island Chain
    3. Straits of Malacca, Thailand Singapore Australia Indonesia Malaysia.
    4. Indo Chinese Border, Tibet.
    INDOPACOM has its hands full as a theater.
    Re China. Our policy of economic trade to promote a liberal society has failed, yet trying to relegate the largest population State in the world to poverty is counter to what we stand for. While wars on the periphery and in proxy states need to be anticipated, direct invasion of the mainland re 1930s Japanesque, will fail and we will still need to deal with a Govt of China that still has the same geopolitical needs as this one. So we need to come to some kind of working relationship with them. And while I’m all for the rules based order, some type of renegotiation/ realignment needs to take place. Many of the current frameworks are from the 1940s, 70s, and 80s. A lot has changed since then.

    • That’s a very accurate division of the theater and you’re on the mark in most areas. Would you consider the Indian Ocean a front in the Asian Theater? I mean an argument can be made either for its inclusion or separation as its own theater. Curious your opinion

      • West of India pakistan area, if I was CJCS it would be Centcom/5th fleet. As for it being a front in the Asian theater? A lot of China, India, Iran, Saudi/GCC economic, some military, investment and activity happening there. I almost look at it like the Pacific Asia theater during the Cold War. A lot of developing countries, differing ideologies (islam, socialism, capitalism) no big regional power yet, and untapped resources. Probably the area the first West vs China proxy war occurs. (I’d consider Taiwan a direct confrontation).
        Probably a seperate front IMO, while many of the actors are the same as Asia, troops, air, ships, can probably be more easily provided and supplied coming from our east coast. Also, depending on how things shake out in Europe, UK, France, Italy, Turkey, Russia, also are probably more interested.
        I’d say a line somewhere around Pak/India border south to Deigo Garcia.

      • That’s a sensible diving line. Anything west of Diego is CENTCOM/5th Fleet territory. Everything east of there is Indo-PacCom/7th Fleet

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