This week, United States President Joe Biden is visiting several countries in Asia for the first time as president, with several goals on the agenda. From peace pacts to trade promises, he is busy trying to forge alliances that will help the US, and indeed the world, move forward from the pandemic, supply chain issues, and geopolitical tensions. While visiting 30,000 American troops stationed at a joint airspace control center where members of the South Korean and US militaries monitor the deepening missile tests of North Korea, he acknowledged the troops and the peace-keeping mission in the area.
“Our alliance is formed through shared sacrifices of the Korean War and several decades later thanks to you the Republic of Korea is a strong thriving democracy,” Biden told the group.Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol met to discuss their common interest in working against North Korea and other threats. They spoke about expanding military drills that had been curtailed by the previous American president, who thought they were too expensive and agitating for the area.
South Korea and the US pledged “Our readiness to take on all threats together.”
Along with the troop visit and tightening up the alliance in South Korea, one of Biden’s primary objectives in visiting Asia is that he hopes to strengthen the ties with Japan as well.“Things have changed,”Biden said during his news conference. “There’s a sense among the democracies in the Pacific that there’s a need to cooperate much more closely, not just militarily but also economically and politically.”
If the US, South Korea, and Japan can strengthen their relationships which have dulled over the years, they can stand strong against autocratic forces such as China and Russia. With the world more tightly woven than ever, Biden hopes to gain allies in trade situations as well as in working for peace. The pandemic has also decimated the supply chain, with many important parts and products coming from the region.
Biden is making a push to unclog the many arteries of the supply chain that flow through Asia. Being on the scene and having these talks in person is an important strategy for success.
Advisor to Berkeley Capital Adnan Zai said, “Biden’s primary goals should be directed to China for a number of priority issues such as supply chain improvement, geopolitical stability, and establishing pre-2016 trade/investment levels with the US.”Biden’s approach for this trip is more roundabout. Instead of visiting China, he is visiting US allies to get them on board. With all these goals in mind, the allies have a lot to talk about, including improving trade, heightening regional security, dealing with the Covid pandemic, and finding a way to deal with the Ukraine war.
During the visit, the President also met with Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun in Seoul, where he highlighted $11 billion in new investments from the Korean automaker, including $5.5 billion to open a new electric vehicle factory in Savannah, Georgia. This would be a boon to the American economy.
There is no doubt that trade with Asia will be of paramount importance moving forward. China is a key to US success in technology, automotive, and other industries, and Biden would be wise to strengthen that connection. “We need to open the supply chains and recover the trade balance we had in 2015 so that the country can move forward, especially considering the extreme rise in inflation,” Zai said.
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