U.S., partners to kick off IPEF
- The U.S. and its partners will launch the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) during President Joe Biden’s trip to Asia. During the five-day tour from May 20 to 24, Biden will meet with South Korea’s new president Yoon Suk Yeol in Seoul and visit Japan for a QUAD summit.
- The trip would mark the U.S.’s shift of focus from the Ukraine crisis back to China. Japan and South Korea have voiced their support for the plan. Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Malaysia are likely to participate. The U.S. is encouraging India to join, while some ASEAN countries remain skeptical.
Chinese senior diplomats warn U.S., Japan
- China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi issued stern warnings to Washington and Tokyo on Wednesday, just days before the QUAD summit.
- In a call with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan (readouts by China/U.S.), Yang pointed out the inconsistency of the U.S.’s recent words and deeds regarding Taiwan, urging the U.S. to honor its Taiwan commitments and warning of “firm actions” if otherwise. Foreign Minister Wang Yi also raised the Taiwan issue when talking with his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi online (readouts by China/Japan), noting the country’s “negative moves” touching China’s core interests had become “prominent.”
- In a separate statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry highlighted Wang Yi’s message to Japan regarding the QUAD meeting: “Bilateral cooperation between Japan and the United States should not provoke bloc confrontation, let alone harm China's sovereignty, security and development interests.”
Xi reiterates China’s determination of opening up
- Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed (En/Ch) a leading Chinese trade association on Wednesday, stressing that “China's resolve to open up at a high standard will not change, and that the door of China will open still wider to the world.”
- On the same day, Premier Li Keqiang was in Yunnan and had a meeting (En/Ch) with top officials from 12 provinces, including ten with the highest GDP in the country. Li urged provincial governments to expand measures to bring the economy back on track, as recent data showed the economy is facing a “further intensified new downward pressure.”
U.S. shows full support for Finland, Sweden joining NATO
- The U.S. is actively helping Finland and Sweden obtain their NATO membership. Before hosting Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson on Thursday at the White House, U.S. President Joe Biden issued a statement, saying he “warmly welcome and strongly support[s]” the countries to join the alliance.
- When asked about Turkey’s objection to the change, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the administration was “confident” in addressing Ankara’s concern, adding that “We feel very good about where this will track to." Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met with Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist at the Pentagon on Wednesday.