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Joe Biden will travel to South Korea and Japan in May

The president aims to deepen alliances between the respective governments and advance the United States' firm commitment to a "Free and Open" Asia-Pacific region, considering the rapid expansion that China has been gaining in the area.

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US President Joe Biden will visit South Korea and Japan from May 20-24 , the White House said on Wednesday.

The goal of the trip is to “deepen partnerships between our governments, our economies and our peoples” and “advance the firm commitment” of the United States to a “free and open” Asia-Pacific region, the statement said. Biden will meet with new South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who takes office on May 10, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

In Tokyo, he will also meet with the leaders of the member countries of the “Quad” group, which form the United States with Australia, India and Japan . Created in 2007, this informal alliance was relaunched in 2017 to counter Chinese influence. The Biden administration considers the Asia-Pacific region as the heart of its foreign and defense policy to curb the expansion of China, which it especially accuses of wanting to control international trade routes.

The world’s top two economies are clashing over trade, human rights and what Biden calls the broader struggle between autocracies and democracies.

On its side, North Korea has carried out a series of unprecedented weapons tests such as the launch of a full-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) , raising concern from the international community. China-related fears, as well as evidence from North Korea, have however been overshadowed since late February by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

India and several countries in the region fear that the Ukrainian crisis will make Washington lose interest in the Asia-Pacific region.

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