Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The scale of challenges abroad, and efforts to translate 21 months of intense engagement into tangible results for US alliances, will put the value of this political capital on the international stage to the test even Where votes are still being counted.
Biden is set to face a series of stark challenges in his session with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, two important allies in the Indo-Pacific region rocked by an increasingly hostile North. An assertive and confrontational China, which has long been a vital issue central to the Biden administration, is looming large.
Biden will also meet with Kishida and Yoon individually before their three-way meeting.
Biden’s pause comes at a summit of Asian nations as advisers see a clear push from historical and political trends in the midterm elections. While Biden’s message won’t change dramatically, the weight behind it has become unequivocally more powerful after American voters sent a message that surpassed the hopes of even the most optimistic White House officials.
The trio of world leaders previously met on the sidelines of a NATO summit in June, pledging to boost cooperation – a complex task for key US allies. which have a historically charged relationship.
But such cooperation is necessary because the latest escalating aggression from North Korea will be a top priority for the trio of leaders on Sunday. North Korea has conducted 32 missile launches this year, According to CNN For both ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. By contrast, it only conducted four tests in 2020 and eight in 2021.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan suggested Saturday that the meeting would not lead to specific results, telling reporters aboard Air Force One that leaders “will be able to discuss broader security issues in the Indo-Pacific and also, specifically, the threats posed by North Korea’s missiles. and nuclear programmes.
The trio comes a day before Biden’s high-profile face-to-face meeting with China’s leader Xi Jinping, their first personal meeting since Biden took office. This meeting will be held on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Bali.
Speaking to reporters Sunday morning, Biden said he entered the meeting with Xi in a position of relative strength.
“I know I’m coming stronger,” he said, noting that he knew Shi well and there was “very little misunderstanding” between the two leaders.
“We just have to figure out what the red lines are and what are the most important things for each of us in the next few years,” Biden said.
Biden, Yoon and Fumio will also discuss Monday’s meeting during the trilateral meeting.
“The one thing President Biden definitely wants to do with our closest allies is check out what he intends to do, and also ask the (South Korean) and Japanese leaders, ‘What do you want me to raise?’ Sullivan said, What do you want me to go for? ‘, adding that it ‘will be a theme but will not be the main event of the trio.
Earlier on Sunday, Biden would attend the East Asia Summit, building on Saturday’s appearance at the ASEAN summit aimed at strengthening US-India-Pacific ties. He then meets Fumio and Yun before leaving for Bali.
This phase of the journey reflects “intense engagement with ASEAN and Southeast Asia” during the Biden administration, a senior administration official told reporters in a phone call earlier this week.
The official added that Biden “will lay out our vision to keep pace with the pace of enhanced engagement and also attempt to address concerns of importance to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the ways they seek,” in keeping with an ongoing theme during Biden’s presidency of building alliances in strategic competition with China.
Among the main topics of discussion this weekend in Cambodia is the ongoing conflict in Myanmar, where the military seized power in a coup last year, the official said.
World leaders will discuss “efforts to promote respect for human rights, the rule of law, good governance and the rules-based international order, as well as to address the ongoing crisis in Burma.”
Biden arrived in Phnom Penh on Saturday, held a bilateral meeting with ASEAN President and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, and attended the ASEAN-US summit.
“This is my third trip, my third summit — my second in person, and it is a testament to the importance the United States places in our relationship with ASEAN and our commitment to ASEAN centrality. ASEAN is the heart of my administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy. We We continue to strengthen our commitment to work apace with an ASEAN Association with a unified mandate.”
On Friday, Biden made a three-hour layover in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where he attended the COP27 climate summit and met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
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