Biden’s Asia Diplomacy Is Still Incomplete

By Zack Cooper

War on the Rocks

August 23, 2023

Images of President Joe Biden, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida together at Camp David are a powerful reminder of the progress that the Biden administration has made with key allies and partners in recent years. Washington has made some notable achievements, from this meeting to the reinvigoration of the Quad, establishment of AUKUS, and basing deals with the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. Still, it is hard to give Biden more than an incomplete grade for his approach to the Indo-Pacific.

U.S. policy elsewhere in the region appears stuck in neutral, particularly in Southeast Asia. Five years ago, I suggested that the Donald Trump administration’s approach to the Indo-Pacific could be described as “a tale of two Asia policies” — the United States had been successful in some domains yet was failing badly in others. Today, this is still true. Regional leaders are deeply disappointed by America’s rejection of trade liberalization as well as its inconsistent diplomatic engagement. Biden’s head-scratching decision to skip this year’s East Asia Summit and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Indonesia will raise many eyebrows.

Read the full article at War on the Rocks.