US Secretary of State and Defense Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin have arrived in Tokyo on their maiden trip abroad in those positions.
They first visit Japan and then South Korea to strengthen ties between the US and the East Asian countries at a time of conflict with China. The two ministers did not come on the same plane.
On Tuesday, they will speak to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who will visit President Joe Biden in Washington next month. On Wednesday, Blinken and Lloyd will go to South Korea.
Blinken will then go to Alaska to receive top Chinese officials in that state’s largest city, Anchorage. That will be the US Secretary of State’s first high-level personal contact with Chinese officials. Lloyd continues the journey to India, where he is expected at the weekend.
Biden wants to restore or repair relations with “traditional allies”. The unconventional foreign policy of his predecessor Donald Trump aimed to spend as little time and money as possible on foreign ‘conditions’. Trump did not hesitate to emphasize this to allies in Europe and Asia.