Between May 20 and May 24, U.S. President Joe Biden will travel to Japan and South Korea. It's his first official visit to Asia.
In Tokyo, Biden is expected to launch the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), a new economic partnership that would replace the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a planned free trade agreement that was canceled in 2017.
Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea have already expressed interest in joining IPEF.
However, the first item on Biden’s agenda will be security cooperation, including a potential NATO expansion to South Korea, especially after Seoul joined NATO Cyber Defense Center — a potential step towards joining the North Atlantic Alliance.
NATO has already forged alliances with countries outside the North Atlantic region. These include: Colombia, Japan and Australia, who are NATO global partners.
While expanding NATO membership to Finland and Sweden would contain Russian expansionism, a NATO enlargement to Japan and South Korea would risk pushing China closer to Russia.
Such a move could jeopardize the bilateral relationships between the United States and China, which were established by President Richard M. Nixon during his 1972 visit to Beijing.
Nixon understood that, to defeat the Soviet Union, the United States needed to break the alliance between China and the USSR.
The Biden administration is doing the opposite.
Rather than breaking up the Sino-Russian partnership, Biden is strengthening it, risking the erosion of the globalization prcoess that characterized the world after the end of the Cold War, and thus polarizing it between two blocs, as it was 40 years ago.
During Biden’s visit, South Korea will probably be invited to join Quad, or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, which was initially established in 2007 by President George W. Bush and is comprised of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States.
South Korea has already been invited to attend Quad meetings known as Quad Plus.
Unlike NATO, Quad does not have an Article 5 that establishes collective defense which provide that, attacks against one ally is considered an attack against all allies.
Therefore, Quad is a military collaboration, rather than a military alliance.
Biden’s visit to Japan and South Korea should focus on the denuclearization of North Korea which, since Biden assumed the presidency, resumed the launch of ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan, a major setback following the diplomatic progress made by the Trump administration.
Recently, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un even threatened to engage ina preemptive nuclear attack.
In his first trip to Asia, Biden will need to restore security in a region that is increasingly instable.
Francesco Stipo is an author and expert in international affairs. He is the President of the Houston Energy Club, a member of the National Press Club in Washington D.C., a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, and recently joined the Bretton Woods Committee. Born in Italy in 1973, Dr. Stipo is a naturalized United States citizen. He holds a Ph.D. in International Law and a Masters Degree in Comparative Law from the University of Miami. Read Francesco Stipo's Reports — More Here.
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