Biden intends to wrap up his South Korean stop on his first trip to Asia as president by visiting US forces

Biden plans to monitor a joint airspace control center where members of the US and South Korean militaries work side by side to monitor an airspace that has been strained by North Korea’s extensive missile tests.

Earlier in the day, the president was expected to meet Hyundai Motor Group President Chung Yoosun in Seoul, where he will highlight $11 billion in new investments from the Korean automaker, including $5.5 billion to open a new electric vehicle plant in Savannah, Georgia. .

One of Biden’s main goals in visiting Asia This week he was reaffirming his commitment to two major alliances while also looking for ways to expand cooperation. He will leave South Korea for Japan later in the day, bringing with him a similar message of reassurances that America’s longtime ally in the Pacific can count on the United States as a reliable security and economic partner.

The day before, Biden and his South Korean counterpart, President Yoon Seok-yeol, wrote in a joint statement that they were open to expanding joint military exercises that Biden’s predecessor had scaled back, believing them to be too costly and provocative. Biden said the cooperation between the two countries showed “our willingness to confront all threats together.”

A senior administration official said Sunday that the expanded military exercises would be aimed at ensuring “what it takes to ensure optimal military preparedness and our ability to work closely,” though he declined to provide a timetable or guidance on the scope of the expanded extension. exercises.

“Mr. President, your country’s democracy is showing the strength to be able to provide assistance to its people,” Biden told Leon during a state dinner Saturday evening. “We are proud to say, the generals with me today can also say, that our armed forces stand shoulder to shoulder, standing on the peninsula for seven decades to keep the peace and make this common prosperity possible.”

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He would likely take a similar message to Japan, which also hosts a large number of American service members and maintains a mutual defense treaty with the United States. Growing provocations from North Korea and land grabs by China have caused deep concern in the country, which is looking to the United States for guarantees about its security.

Biden is expected to call Emperor Naruhito at his Imperial Palace before meeting on Monday with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who took office last fall. Later, he will unveil the outlines of a trade plan for Asia that officials hope will generate broad support. He will conclude his visit with a collective summit of the Quartet – which includes 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 parallel sets of economic and security issues that surfaced in his discussions with leaders. His trade scheme, seen as a watered-down alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact that his predecessor scrapped, is expected to focus heavily on flexible supply chains disconnected from Chinese parts – a message he conveyed at multiple points in Seoul.

Among the many other issues he hopes to bring up – which include regional security, trade, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine war – is improving relations between the two countries he is visiting this week. Relations between Japan and South Korea It has worsened in recent years, a combination of long-breathing historical resentment and modern business actions.

“It is very important” that the United States, South Korea and Japan have a “very close trilateral relationship,” Biden told reporters in Seoul on Saturday.

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He said the current state of the world, where authoritarian regimes such as China and Russia have defied democratic mores, demands that the rest of the world stick together, despite persistent disagreements.

“Things have changed,” Biden said during his press conference. “There is a feeling among the democracies in the Pacific that there is a need to cooperate more closely, not only militarily but also economically and politically.”

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