Washington, Apr 28 (PTI) US President Joe Biden will travel to South Korea and Japan next month and attend the Quad summit in Tokyo, during which he will also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the White House has said.
Biden’s trip to South Korea and Japan has been scheduled from May 20 to 24. “This trip will advance the Biden-Harris administration’s rock-solid commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said here on Wednesday. Biden will also hold bilateral meetings with South Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan. “The leaders will discuss opportunities to deepen our vital security relationships, enhance economic ties and expand our close cooperation to deliver practical results.
“In Tokyo, President Biden will also meet the leaders of the Quad grouping of Australia, Japan, India and the United States. We look forward to having further details to share about this trip soon,” Psaki said. In November 2017, the US, Australia, India and Japan gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence, amidst China’s growing military presence in the strategic region.
China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea. Beijing is also involved in a maritime dispute with Japan over the East China Sea.
The Quad leaders, at their first-in-person summit in Washington in September last year hosted by US President Biden, had pledged to ensure a “free and open” Indo-Pacific, which is also “inclusive and resilient”, as they noted that the strategically vital region, witnessing China’s growing military manoeuvring, is a bedrock of their shared security and prosperity.