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Asia Minute: Biden Administration’s First Delegation Heading to Asia

AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File
FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, file photo, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a media briefing at the Pentagon, in Washington.

The Biden Administration is sending its first official overseas delegation to the Asia Pacific. Next week’s trip will include stops in Japan and South Korea. It will also mark the first visit of a Biden cabinet secretary to Hawaii.

If there’s a theme to this trip,it’s all about the allies.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will start his trip with a stop in Hawaii on Saturday, and a visit to Indo Pacific Command — whose area of responsibility stretches to the western border of India.

Austin will then go to India, where the newspaper The Hindu says discussions will cover joint military exercises and potential sales of military equipment from the U.S. to India – including some 3-billion dollars of armed drones.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will then join Austin for meetings with their counterparts first in Japan and then in South Korea.

Before returning to Washington, Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will meet with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Yang Jichei – China’s previous Foreign Minister and current member of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party.

This high-level in-person meeting will take place in Alaska.

Before all of the physical travel gets underway, President Biden is going to hold an online meeting with leaders of Japan, India and Australia. This group is known as the “Quad” — with shared interests of monitoring Chinese military and diplomatic activity in the region.

That meeting tomorrow will be the first leader-level meeting of what may become a more active alliance under the Biden Administration.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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