Biden to travel to South Korea and Japan in May

President Biden will travel to Asia next month, looking to solidify U.S. alliances with Japan and South Korea and keep Chinese influence at bay, even as much of the world’s focus is on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Biden will visit South Korea and Japan from May 20-24, the White House announced Thursday.

“This trip will advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s rock-solid commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and to U.S. treaty alliances with the Republic of Korea and Japan,” press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

Biden will meet individually with newly elected South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol and with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. While in Tokyo, Biden is also expected to meet with the leaders of Australia and India, which along with the U.S. and Japan make up the “Quad” alliance.

Biden’s visit to Asia will come one week after he hosts Asian leaders for a gathering of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Washington, D.C.

The president has met multiple times with Quad leaders and his administration has tried to center the Indo-Pacific as a key part of its foreign policy, specifically addressing Chinese aggression and competition with Beijing.

The Biden administration last week sent two top national security officials to the Solomon Islands amid growing concerns that China could establish a military presence there.

The president’s foreign policy agenda has in recent months been largely consumed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He visited Brussels and Poland last month in a show of support among NATO allies for Ukraine.

White House officials have warned against the potential for China to aid Russia, though there have not been indications Beijing has done so to date.

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