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Biden’s Shaky Foreign Policy Start in Asia

América Quad

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The Biden administration has no concrete foreign policy in Asia. According to advisors, the new Democratic administration is making a thorough and multilateral assessment to develop a strategy in the face of China’s growing influence.

However, while China has launched diplomatic, trade, and military strategies both at home and internationally, the Biden Administration continues to scramble with ambiguous messages.

While some of the Biden administration’s talking points have been reassuring for some American allies in Asia, some lawmakers acknowledged that Washington “has little direct leverage to persuade” its allies to support sanctions against Burma’s new military government, which overthrew the democratic government on February 1.

El golpe de Myanmar se ha convertido en el primer desafío diplomático importante para Biden desde su toma de posesión. (Efe)
The Burma coup became the first major diplomatic challenge for Biden since his inauguration. (Efe)

Biden must convince Japan and Singapore given that they are Burma’s largest financial partners, falling short behind China. According to Nikkei Asia, “the State Department ‘had little to show for its efforts and it remains unclear what is being done to recruit an international response force that could exert real pressure beyond the U.S. and some European countries.'”

The U.S. State Department and the foreign ministries of Japan, Australia and India held a virtual meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue better known as Quad, the group of “policy-making democracies for the Indo-Pacific”.

The U.S. allegedly reassured Quad’s members its commitment to promote democratic values around in the Indo-Pacific region.

Quad brings strength and tranquility for U.S. allies in Asia

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said the meeting was “highly commendable.”

Robert O’Brien, Trump’s former national security advisor said that the Trump Administration had positioned Quad as “the most important relationship we’ve established since NATO.”

Chancellor Motegi stressed that the meeting was a sign of Biden’s “strong” commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and the Quad.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs claimed that the “interest in the Indo-Pacific region was expanding outside the Quad”. The Quad has received support from European countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and the Netherlands.

Asia - Quad - El American
Japanese Chancellor Toshimitsu Motegi (2-R) and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi (R) attend a video conference with British Chancellor Dominic Raab (2-L, on screen) and Defense Minister Ben Wallace on the UK’s intention to support the Quad and the free and open Indo-Pacific region. (Efe)

The allies set out their commitment to support “a rapid restoration of democracy in Burma following the recent military coup.” Media reports claimed that the ministers called for the ending of violence against civilians and the release of Burma’s former State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other imprisoned officials.

Japan leads strategy against Chinese Communist Party

Japan stressed the importance of “respecting international law”, considering that in recent weeks there have been incursions by Chinese coast guard ships around the Senkaku Islands (islands disputed by China and Japan).

Japan - Quad - Asia - El American
Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has been steadfast in his commitment to work closely with America to achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific. (Efe)

Quad members expressed their opposition “to efforts to unilaterally alter the status quo” in the Indo-Pacific Seas. China, for its part, has increased maritime activity by building artificial islands.

China’s threat to the international community, and primarily to the free countries of the Indo-Pacific, increased with the implementation of China’s national security law on January 1, 2020.

This legislation, in addition to intensifying Chinese nationalism and weaponization, also grants broad powers to the China Coast Guard, “authorizing it to fire on foreign ships in some circumstances.”

Tokyo and Washington reach spending agreement for U.S. troops stationed in Japan

America and Japan agreed to “keep Tokyo’s costs” for maintaining the 55,000 American forces in the country. The Trump administration had pressured Japan to quadruple its investment, which remains at 1.9 billion dollars.

Then U.S. President Donald J. Trump takes off in Marine One from the Japanese Navy destroyer J.S Kaga (DDH-184), in Yokosuka (Japan-2019). (Efe)

Japan is the strongest U.S. ally in Asia, and aided the Trump Administration push back against China and North Korea.

Camilo Bello is a consultant focused on Asia Pacific studies and has experience in strategic management. He has studied law in Colombia and is currently pursuing studies in language and history at National Taiwan Normal University. He has collaborated with Students for Freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan // Camilo es consultor enfocado en estudios de Asia Pacífico y experiencia en gestión estratégica. Cuenta con estudios en Derecho en Colombia y actualmente se encuentra realizando estudios en lenguaje e historia en National Taiwan Normal University. Colaborador de Estudiantes por la Libertad en Hong Kong y Taiwán

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