Biden reinforces Japan ties, unveils Asia trade initiative -- May 23
TOKYO, May 23 — President Joe Biden meets with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo and unveils a multinational trade initiative Monday as part of his push to reinvigorate US strategic power across Asia.

Fresh from a three-day visit to another key US ally, South Korea, Biden will also have talks with Japanese Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace.

US officials describe Japan and South Korea as linchpins in Washington’s pushback against rising Chinese commercial and military power, as well as partners in a Western-led alliance to isolate Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Biden reinforces the theme of American leadership in the Asia-Pacific by joining the prime ministers of Australia, India and Japan for a summit of the Quad group.

This is “a vital opportunity to exchange views and continue to drive practical cooperation in the Indo-Pacific”, the White House said, using the administration’s term for the Asia-Pacific region.

However, Quad member India stands out for refusing to condemn Moscow openly or cut trade with Russia. Biden will also be meeting one-on-one Tuesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

North Korea ignores Biden

Hanging over every step of Biden’s Asia tour is fear that unpredictable North Korea will test a nuclear-capable missile or a bomb.

Speculation that this might even happen while Biden was just across the border in Seoul did not materialise over the weekend. ...continue reading

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