President Biden’s foreign policy agenda includes two important goals which are to rebuild ties with annoyed allies and to amass a united front against China. This week, he is working on both the objectives as he dispatches Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Japan and South Korea.
The countries bank on trade with Beijing, even though they often clash on security, democracy and human rights. “There is a growing appetite in Tokyo for a strong response to China’s moves” in the South China Sea, according to the report by The Japan Times.
The burst of diplomacy began on Friday with a virtual summit with Australia, India and Japan — the so-called Quad allies. The group announced a deal to expand vaccine supplies for Southeast Asian countries in a countermove to China’s vaccine diplomacy.
Blinken told a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in Washington last week,
“The more China hears, not just our opprobrium, but a course of opprobrium from around the world, the better the chance that we’ll get some changes.”
Blinken and Austin are highlighting the Asia-Pacific alliances as a top priority, writing in The Washington Post,
“It would be a huge strategic error to neglect these relationships.”
The Biden administration tried to restart discussions with North Korea over its nuclear program, but its gestures have not been returned.