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Trump Plans to Strengthen Japan-South Korea Ties, Allies Say

Photo : Reuters

Following President Biden's widely criticized debate performance on Thursday, concerns have intensified that undecided voters may shift their support towards former President Trump, prompting some to call for Biden to reconsider his 2024 candidacy.

Simultaneously, allies of Donald Trump have been assuring officials in Japan and South Korea of his commitment to bolstering trilateral ties aimed at countering China and North Korea. According to sources familiar with the discussions, Trump's policy advisers have conveyed a message to Seoul and Tokyo in recent weeks: if re-elected, Trump would support efforts to strengthen military, economic, and diplomatic cooperation between the two countries and the United States.

These assurances, previously unreported, highlight efforts by Trump's allies to assure Asian allies that his administration would prioritize regional stability and partnership. Fred Fleitz, a former chief of staff in Trump's National Security Council, affirmed these discussions during his recent visit to Japan, where he met with officials including national security adviser Takeo Akiba.

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The outreach by Trump's team underscores an early effort to outline foreign policy priorities for a potential second Trump presidency well ahead of the 2024 election. Discussions have included proposals for a Ukraine peace plan and NATO funding restructuring, with specific attention given to strengthening alliances in the Indo-Pacific region amidst heightened tensions over Taiwan and the South China Sea.

While Trump's campaign has not officially confirmed these plans, representatives have emphasized that no one can make foreign policy commitments on Trump's behalf. Nevertheless, Asian officials have reportedly taken these discussions seriously, viewing them as indicative of Trump's potential stance if re-elected.

In contrast, President Biden has prioritized restoring and enhancing traditional alliances, as demonstrated by his efforts to foster closer ties between South Korea and Japan, culminating in a summit at Camp David last summer. This initiative aimed to bolster defense cooperation amid threats from North Korea and China's assertive claims in the region.

As the 2024 election approaches, these diplomatic overtures and policy discussions with Asian allies are expected to play a pivotal role in shaping regional dynamics, regardless of the outcome. Both Trump and Biden supporters are closely watching how these foreign policy promises and initiatives will influence voters and geopolitical stability in the coming years.

June 29, 2024 12:53 p.m. 480

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