WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) — President Joe Biden will visit South Korea and Japan from May 20 to May 24, the White House announced late Wednesday, marking his first trip to Asia since taking office.
Biden is hoping to use the trip to underscore his commitment to the region even as the focus of the world remains on the ongoing war in Ukraine. The President will host bi-bilateral meetings with Korean President-elect Yoon Suk Yeol, who is set to be inaugurated on May 10, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
While in Tokyo, President Joe Biden will meet with the leaders of Japan, Australia, and India, in a gathering of the Quad partnership.
“The leaders will discuss opportunities to deepen our vital security relationships, enhance economic ties, and expand our close cooperation to deliver practical results,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
The trip comes amid looming concerns over North Korea’s weapons test, which has worried US officials. Earlier this week, Kim Jong Un promised a military parade this week to “strengthen and develop” his nuclear forces to project strength to the rest of the world.
The upcoming trip comes at a critical point for Biden, who is seeking to keep the U.S. and its allies united against Russia in their war against Ukraine amid several civilian casualties and intensifying fighting. The war overseas has been overshadowing much of Biden’s second year in office, committing billions of dollars to aid Ukraine and handing down sanctions on Russia.
Biden has repeatedly called North Korea his greatest foreign policy challenge early in his presidency. Former President Donald Trump took a different approach to the country, making history in his final trip to Seoul, making a detour to the demilitarized zone, where he shook hands with Kim and stepped foot onto North Korean soil.
Biden’s trip comes as the United States is closely watching the actions of China in the Ukraine-Russia war. The President has repeatedly warned Beijing would face severe consequences if it were to help Moscow in any way during the war.