US President Joe Biden on Monday launched a new regional economic plan involving 12 Indo-Pacific states. The announcement of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, or IPEF, came during Biden’s visit to Japan, on his first trip to Asia since taking office.
“The future of the 21st century economy is going to be largely written in the Indo-Pacific – in our region,” Biden said at the launch event in Tokyo, after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo. “We are writing the new rules.”
What is the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity?
The program aims to onboard partners with agreed standards in the areas of digital economy, supply chains, clean energy infrastructure and anti-corruption measures. But this does not go so far as to seek to negotiate tariffs or facilitate market access.
The United States had planned to join the broader Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), drafted in 2015, but former President Donald Trump pulled the country out of the plan in 2017, ultimately leading to the collapse of the whole of the proposal.
Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam will be part of the new group.
The countries said in a joint statement that the pact will collectively help them “prepare our economies for the future” after the coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Taiwan had made clear it wanted to be part of IPEF, but US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said before Biden’s trip that Taipei would not be one of the countries involved. Choosing Taiwan would certainly have upset China, which demands that countries do not grant full diplomatic recognition to Taipei.
U.S.-Japan alliance ‘a cornerstone of peace and prosperity’ – Biden
While in Tokyo, Biden also assured his “good friend” Kishida that the United States was committed to defending Japan, amid simmering tension with China and the broader context of Japan’s invasion. Ukraine by Russia.
Kishida said he was “absolutely delighted” to welcome Biden on his first trip to Asia as president.
“The U.S.-Japan alliance has long been the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific,” Biden said.
A White House statement said the two nations were “committed to working closely together to address security challenges.” They met to “advance cooperation on bilateral, regional and global issues”, the statement added.
The two leaders met at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, where Kishida hosted an official welcome for Biden, including a white-clad military honor guard and a group in the front plaza. Biden also met Emperor Naruhito on Monday morning.
US pledges to defend Taiwan against China
Biden also said the United States would militarily defend Taiwan should China invade.
“We agreed with the one China policy, we signed it…but the idea that it can be taken by force is just not appropriate,” he said. declared.
The US president pointed to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, saying sanctions against Russia should be upheld “in several ways” to send a good message to China about Taiwan.
Kishida also said that Russia’s war against Ukraine “undermines the foundations of the world order”.
Quad group meeting on Tuesday
Biden and Kishida will also meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and newly elected Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for a meeting of the so-called Quad group.
Of the four, India is the only one that has not openly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or severed trade relations with the country. Modi and Biden are due to meet separately in Japan on Tuesday for one-on-one talks.
Prior to that, Biden was on a three-day visit to South Korea. U.S. officials portray Japan and South Korea as pillars of Washington’s backlash against China’s growing commercial and military power, as well as partners in a Western-led alliance to isolate Russia during its invasion of Ukraine.
The five-day Asia tour also comes amid fears that North Korea may test a missile or nuclear bomb. “If North Korea acts, we will be ready to react. If North Korea does not act, North Korea has the opportunity, as we have said many times, to come to the table,” he said. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters. earlier.
kb.tg/msh (AP, Reuters)