Lee Jin-man / AP
The main US allies in East Asia, South Korea, and Japan, welcomed Joe Biden’s electoral victory over the weekend, hoping that the former vice president will rebuild decades of coalitions of they have been challenged during the unprecedented four tense years of the Trump administration.
After sending congratulations on Twitter, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Monday he hopes to work with Biden to strengthen the US-Japan alliance and “ensure peace and prosperity of the Indo-Indian region. India – Pacific Ocean. “
South Korean President Moon Jae-in also posted a congratulatory tweet over the weekend before telling reporters on Monday he would work to “ensure that there won’t be any gaps in consolidation. Korea-US alliance and the peace process in Korea. “
President Trump has been criticized for seeing little value in alliances, except for a way to squeeze revenue from wealthy allies he believes they are fully capable of defending. Trump even suggested they develop their own nuclear arsenal.
Both Seoul and Tokyo have come under pressure from Trump to pay more for the costs of being stationed in their own countries, or face the possibility that the United States may reduce its military presence. He also pressured both countries to join the United States to confront China, with both Korea and Japan having strong trade ties.
Biden has pledged to strengthen the US-Korea alliance “instead of blackmailing Seoul with reckless threats to eliminate our troops,” Biden wrote in a contribution to Yonhap News Agency, referring to books by Trump.
While there may be less pressure from Biden over which side Seoul and Tokyo have to choose, the strategic competition between the US and China will inevitably continue as “the Chinese are challenging. [the U.S.] Kunihiko Miyake, research director at Canon Global Research Institute in Tokyo, said in this part of the world, as we did in the 1930s.
Another tension in the US alliance network in Asia stems from the historic feud between Seoul and Tokyo, especially stemming from World War II, when Japan occupied the Korean peninsula. brutalism.
Critics have accused the Trump administration of letting this grudge go unchecked. But Miyake argued that if he were a US diplomat dealing with Seoul and Tokyo, “I won’t mediate, because you will get burned.”
“If this was a pure diplomatic issue or a purely national security issue, then it would be easier to intervene,” but Miyake said that wasn’t it and the leaders of both countries, he argued, manipulating historical matters for domestic political interests, regardless of external pressure.
Biden has also promised “disciplined diplomacy” in working towards the denuclearization of North Korea. Many believe that it means Biden will cooperate more closely with Seoul and Tokyo and not engage in direct high-stakes negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un until the content of a Feasible agreements are made in work level negotiations.
North Korea prefers a top-down approach and Kim gives its negotiators minimal negotiating time. This contributes to the collapse of the second Trump-Kim summit in Vietnam in 2019, leaving Kim bitter and skeptical about the prospect of reaching a deal with the U.S.
Ahn Byongjin, professor of American studies at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, said: “Kim Jong Un is very disappointed in Hanoi, he will never believe what the US says, diplomatically, after his experience. there”.
Many observers are skeptical of any breakthrough in denuclearization on the Korean peninsula, or improving the icy relations between the North and South.
A survey by South Korean polling firm Realmeter on Friday found 48.8% of respondents expected a “slight difference” in inter-Korean relations under Biden, 16.4% Expect sex to improve and 26.5% expect them to worsen.
North Korean state media did not mention Biden’s election victory on Monday. South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa, in Washington on Monday to meet his Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo, predicted that it would be difficult for Biden to exercise “strategic patience” and wait for Kim Jong Un to come out, like President Barack Obama was hoping to do, though she warned that it was too early to make a prediction. “
Biden will initially need to focus on healing deep divisions within America. Ahn Byongjin of Kyung Hee University argues that this will also help restore the prestige of the United States and international political capital in the eyes of allies.
He noted that in the 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson strongly promoted civil rights law “partly because he was thinking of competing with the Soviet Union” and was concerned that opposition discrimination in the United States did. spoiled the image of this country abroad.
NPR’s Se Eun Gong in Seoul contributed to this report.