President Joe Biden’s team deliberately embarked on the fast pace of the diplomatic journey. It marked by the new administration slowly in the hope of setting an example that prevented travel during the pandemic. But the administration also made it clear that it wants to restore US relations with the rest of the world. Specially with its traditional Asian alliances, after the turmoil of the Trump era.
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Visit to Japan
After an unprecedented summit of leaders, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin and top US diplomat Antony Blinken came to Japan. It’s their first trip abroad to bring together key Asian allies. Whereas, both had conversations with their counterparts as well as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
In a joint statement, Austin and Blinken said they were trying to “revive our relationship with friends and partners. This is an important part of the conversation because we have contractual obligations with Japan as well”. US officials also said talks with Japanese officials would include about “China’s role and behavior in the region”. Beijing’s increasing presence in the waters around the controversial Senkaku Islands – administered by Japan but claimed by China, which they call Diaoyus – will also be discussed.
US message to Chinese officials
The visit also consist of presenting a united front on China’s challenge. ” We will hold China accountable for human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Tibet, systematically violating Hong Kong’s autonomy. Also undermining democracy in Taiwan, or making maritime claims in the South China Sea that violate international law”, they said.
Furthermore, “Any future engagement really needs to be based on the assumption that we will see real progress and tangible results on the issues of our concern with China,” Blinken said.
“Our goal is to make sure we have the capability and an operational plan so that we will provide a reliable deterrent to China or anyone who may wish to take over the United States. We’ll also increase allies capabilities for ‘competitive advantage’ over Beijing “, they said.
Meetings with Asian alliances in India and Korea
The Pentagon said, “Austin would meet Defense Minister Rajnat Singh in Delhi to seek a deeper partnership with India”.
In Seoul, following the Trump summit, he will consult North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to review Biden’s policies towards Pyongyang.
Blinken’s events in Tokyo and Seoul will be largely virtual, with video conferencing addresses for Japanese business leaders and journalists, although conversations with officials will be face-to-face. He will return back to US to hold talks with his Chinese counterpart.