U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday held the second summit of his Asia trip with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, following his meeting over the weekend with South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol.
Biden and Kishida agreed to strengthen deterrence and work closely to counter China's growing influence in Asia, before launching the IndoPacific Economic Framework, America's plan for regional economic cooperation between 13 participating countries,.. including South Korea.
We wrap up President Biden's back-to-back summits in his first Asia tour with Kim Young-jun, Professor at Korea National Defense University and CHOO Jae-woo, Professor of Chinese Studies at Kyung Hee University.
1. Professor Kim: Biden and Kishida pledged to strengthen deterrence against regional threats and also discussed Japan joining the UN Security Council as a permanent member. How significant are these steps in “pushing back” against China? The P-5 members are all nuclear weapons states… Are they hinting something?
2. Professor Choo: President Biden showed support for Japan joining the UN Security Council as a permanent member. What purpose would this serve, and can we expect a strong pushback from Beijing and Moscow?
3. Professor Kim: The Biden-Kishida joint statement was openly critical of China while the one between Yoon and Biden did not directly mention Beijing. What kind of security partnership is Washington seeking with its two Northeast Asian allies?
4. Professor Kim: Would South Korea involve itself more in Quad activities and initiatives, under the Yoon administration?
5. Professor Choo: The centerpiece of the Biden-Kishida summit was supposed to be the formal launch of the IndoPacific Economic Framework. Much of the language in the joint declaration was vague and continued to lack details on incentives for participating nations. Why do you think this is, and has the deal failed before it’s taken off?
6. Prof. Choo: China showed strong opposition to its neighbours moving closer to the U.S., particularly when it came to launching an economic initiative for the region that could mirror Beijing’s own Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. However, its rhetoric wasn’t as aggressive towards Seoul as it was towards Tokyo and Washington. Do you think South Korea has gained more diplomatic leverage? Where do you think Yoon stands right now on South Korea-China ties?
7. Professor Kim: Despite concerns that North Korea may launch a provocation before or during President Biden’s trip to Seoul and Tokyo, it seems to have refrained from doing so. Then do you think Pyeongyang will launch a missile test or a strong form of response to Biden’s back-to-back summits?
What do you make of the situation?
That was Kim Young-jun, Professor at Korea National Defense University and CHOO Jae-woo, Professor of Chinese Studies at Kyung Hee University. Thank you for your insights today.