Before President Joe Biden concluded his visit to South Korea on Sunday, he left a brief message for the North’s dictator, who US officials believe is gearing up for provocation during the North’s visit. -American to Asia.
“Hello,” Biden said, when asked about his message to Kim Jong Un. “End.”
The succinct salute reflected the Biden administration’s so far unsuccessful attempts to restart diplomacy with Pyongyang. Attempts to contact North Korea have largely gone unanswered. Instead, Kim has stepped up missile launches and may be preparing for a seventh underground nuclear test.
Biden said he was prepared for such contingencies to occur during his first trip to Asia.
“We are prepared for anything North Korea does. We’ve already thought about how we’re going to respond to everything they do. And so I’m not worried,” Biden said.
The president spoke before visiting some of the nearly 30,000 US military personnel stationed in the country as the last stop on his visit to South Korea.
The Americans posted on the Korean peninsula have long acted as a sign of US military strength in a region that is worried about the nuclear-armed nation to the north. Increasingly, they also act as a reminder of Western strength in a region heavily influenced by China.
Biden plans to observe a joint airspace control center where members of the US and South Korean military work side by side to monitor the tense airspace of North Korea’s intensified missile tests.
Earlier in the day, the chairman met with Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Euisun in Seoul, where he highlighted the Korean automaker’s $11 billion in new investments, including $5.5 billion to open a new electric vehicles in Savannah, Georgia.
One of Biden’s main goals as he visited Asia this week was to reaffirm his commitment to two key alliances, while also looking for ways to further expand cooperation. It will depart South Korea for Japan later in the day, bringing with it a similar message of reassurance that the longtime Pacific ally can depend on the United States as a reliable security and economic partner.
A day earlier, Biden and his South Korean counterpart, President Yoon Suk Yeol, wrote in a statement that they were open to expanding joint military exercises that Donald Trump scaled back, believing them to be too expensive and provocative. Biden said cooperation between the two countries demonstrated “our readiness to face all threats together.”
The expanded military exercises will aim to ensure “what it takes to better ensure military readiness and our ability to work closely together,” a senior administration official said on Sunday, though he declined to offer a timeline or guidance on the scope of this expansion.
“Mr President, your country’s democracy shows the power of being able to deliver to your people,” Biden told Yoon during a toast at the start of the official dinner on Saturday night. “We are proud to say, and the generals with me today can also say, that our Armed Forces stand side by side, standing on a peninsula for seven decades to preserve peace and make this shared prosperity possible.”
It will likely carry a similar message to Japan, which is also home to a sizable US military population and maintains a mutual defense treaty with the United States. The increase in North Korea’s provocations and China’s territorial appropriations have caused deep concern in the country, which has looked to the US for guarantees about its security.
Biden is due to visit Emperor Naruhito at his imperial palace before meeting on Monday with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who took office last fall. He will later reveal the drafts of a trade plan for Asia that officials hope will generate broad support. And he will conclude his visit with a summit of the Quad collective – made up of the United States, Japan, India and Australia – which is widely seen as an attempt to counter China’s military and economic ambitions.
On his trip, Biden sought to connect the parallel sets of economic and security issues that emerged in his discussions with leaders. His trade scheme, seen as a scaled-down alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact scrapped by his predecessor, is expected to place heavy emphasis on resilient supply chains decoupled from Chinese parts — a message he conveyed at various points in Seoul.
Among the numerous other issues he hopes to raise — which include regional security, trade, the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine — is the question of improving ties between the two countries he is visiting this week. Relations between Japan and South Korea have worsened in recent years, a combination of longstanding historic resentments and more recent trade actions.
Biden told reporters in Seoul on Saturday that “it is extremely important” that the US, South Korea and Japan have a “very close trilateral relationship”.
He said the current state of the world, where autocratic regimes like China and Russia have defied democratic norms, required the rest of the world to hold together despite persistent differences.
“Things have changed,” Biden said during his interview. “There is a feeling among Pacific democracies that there is a need to cooperate much more closely, not just militarily, but also economically and politically.”
Source: CNN Brasil