The US, on a mission, to rally Asia against China, distracted by North Korea
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, on their first trip abroad since getting to work, meet their partners from Japan on Tuesday to begin an outing that will likewise take them to South Korea later in the week. They are looking for participation on a unified front toward territorial security from the nations that have the heft of US troops in the area and face dangers presented by North Korea and China.
Yet, only hours before the beginning of formal conversations, the Biden administration said North Korea has ignored its request for talks.“We’ve reached out to the North Korean government through several channels starting in mid-February, including in New York, and to date, we have not received any response from Pyongyang,” State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter said at a Monday briefing.
To date, North Korea has not mentioned Biden by his name.
A few days before Biden was inaugurated, leader Kim Jong Un called the US "his biggest enemy" and that he would North Korea on a path to develop advanced nuclear technologies and missiles.
North Korean media praised Donald Trump for holding three summits with North Korea and called it "special chemistry" but that resulted in nothing and during the Trump administration North Korea built its stockpile of fissile material, developed more powerful atomic weapons, and tested new missiles designed to deliver nuclear warheads to all of the US mainlands.
Before the formal talks began in Tokyo, Kim Yo Jong, the sister of the leader, launched a rhetorical attack on joint military drills involving the US and South Korea that started this month. In comments directed at the Biden administration, she said: “If it wants to sleep in peace for coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step,” according to KCNA, without mentioning the president by name.
This trip resulted after the Quad summit which was attended by the leader of Australia, Japan, and India, all have their tensions with China.
“As countries in the region and beyond know, China, in particular, is all too willing to use coercion to get its way,” Blinken and Austin wrote in a joint opinion piece in the Washington Post just before their visit. “Here again, we see how working with our allies is critical.”
Biden is set to keep a firm stance on Beijing - as proven by the transition to boycott the fare of 5G segments to Huawei Technologies Co. - yet he is looking to maintain a strategic distance from the perception that it is just keen on connecting with Asian countries as a feature to face China.