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Biden bids to bridge Tokyo-Seoul divide for Indo-Pacific defense

President's Asia visit seen as attempt to capitalize on rise of Yoon in South Korea

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The election of the South Korean conservative gives the three countries an opportunity to bridge the divide between Seoul and Tokyo. (Source photos by Reuters, AP and pool photo) 

TOKYO -- U.S. President Joe Biden's just-concluded visit to South Korea and Japan picked up where he left off in December 2013, when he was President Barack Obama's vice president. Then, as now, he came on a mission in part to "connect" the two Asian allies.

"Our pride was tickled [by Biden's visit], for sure," said a veteran South Korean journalist, voicing the sentiment of many people in the country. The U.S.-South Korea summit last Saturday took place only 11 days after South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol was sworn in. The public excitement was understandable, as South Korea had never held a summit with the U.S. so soon after the inauguration of a new leader, and this time the U.S. president came visiting first.

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