Trump’s Allies Reassure Japan and South Korea on Continued U.S. Support Amid Biden Debate Fallout

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WASHINGTON/TOKYO/SEOUL, June 28 (Reuters) – Allies of Donald Trump are reassuring officials in Japan and South Korea that if Trump wins the presidency, he will support efforts to strengthen trilateral ties aimed at countering China and North Korea, according to five people familiar with the discussions.

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In recent weeks, Trump’s policy advisers have conveyed this message to officials in Seoul and Tokyo: a Trump administration would endorse their work to enhance military, economic, and diplomatic cooperation to ease global tensions, the sources said.

These assurances have been communicated by Republicans and officials from both Asian nations, several of whom were directly involved. This previously unreported effort is part of a broader push by Trump’s allies to convince key U.S. partners in Asia that his aggressive approach to traditional alliances does not extend to the Indo-Pacific region, where the U.S. faces heightened tensions over Taiwan, the South China Sea, and a new Chinese-Russian partnership.

“I reassured them that the alliance will be strong, that Trump recognizes we have to work closely with our allies to defend their interests,” said Fred Fleitz, a former chief of staff in Trump’s National Security Council, who met with Japanese officials, including national security adviser Takeo Akiba, this month.

These conversations gain additional significance following Biden’s poor debate performance on Thursday, which may push undecided voters towards Trump and has sparked calls for Biden to step aside in the 2024 race.

Trump allies have also floated other foreign policy plans if he wins in November, including a peace plan for Ukraine and restructuring NATO funding. The reassurances to Japan and South Korea are more significant because they involve direct talks with foreign officials. In May, former Trump foreign policy officials met with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Chris LaCivita, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, emphasized that no one has the authority to make promises on behalf of Trump to foreign governments. Fleitz clarified that he was offering his assessment based on experience with Trump, not speaking for him officially.

Numerous high-level meetings have taken place or are scheduled between Japanese and South Korean governments and right-wing think tanks like the America First Policy Institute, Heritage Foundation, and Hudson Institute, which are planning policies Trump could implement in 2025.

An official from one of the Asian countries briefed on these meetings said their government is taking them seriously and sees them as a credible indication of Trump’s potential policies.

These discussions highlight the serious early effort by Trump allies to outline policy priorities for a potential second Trump presidency, months before the 2024 election.

The conservative think tank consortium “Project 2025” is making detailed plans for a second Trump presidency, describing South Korea and Japan as “critical allies” in military, economic, diplomatic, and technological domains. However, they also advocate for South Korea to take more responsibility for its defense against North Korea.

The outreach to Asia suggests one potential area of continuity between Trump and Biden. The Biden administration has prioritized strengthening traditional alliances, which Trump sometimes criticized.

Biden has encouraged South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to work together, culminating in a Camp David summit last summer that pledged new defense cooperation in response to threats from North Korea and China.

“My view, and President Trump shares this, is the deeper we can make the economic ties between the three countries, the stronger the bonds will be,” said Senator Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, a former ambassador to Japan in the Trump administration.

In Seoul and Tokyo, the Republican messages of solidarity have been welcomed as a sign that Trump’s Asia policy might differ from his hard-nosed approach to other alliances.

South Korea’s foreign ministry stated that trilateral cooperation is necessary and has bipartisan support in the United States. Spokespeople for the Biden campaign, the White House, and Japan’s foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

“I don’t see any reason why trilateral cooperation would languish at all,” said Alexander Gray, a former chief of staff of the White House National Security Council under Trump. “There’s a general concern, that I think is unfounded, that President Trump would abandon things that Joe Biden started simply because Joe Biden was involved in them.”

By Naija247news
By Naija247newshttps://www.naija247news.com/
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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