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Biden will reaffirm US commitment to defense of S. Korea, Japan through Asia tour: Psaki

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is seen answering questions in a daily press briefing at the White House in Washington on Thursday in this captured image. (White House)
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is seen answering questions in a daily press briefing at the White House in Washington on Thursday in this captured image. (White House)

WASHINGTON -- US President Joe Biden will reaffirm US commitment to the defense of South Korea and Japan when he visits Seoul and Tokyo later this month, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.

The spokesperson said Biden will also reaffirm his commitment to providing "extended deterrence" to the US allies.

"While he's there in South Korea and Japan, the president will hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts -- newly elected president of the Republic of Korea and Prime Minister (Fumio) Kishida of Japan," Psaki told a daily press briefing.

South Korea earlier said the US president will arrive in Seoul on May 20 for a summit with the incoming president, Yoon Suk-yeol, who is set to take office on Tuesday. Biden is due in Japan on May 22.

Biden's upcoming trip follows a series of missile tests by North Korea, which also fired its first intercontinental ballistic missile in over four years in March.

Pyongyang again fired a ballistic missile on Wednesday (Seoul time), marking its 14th known show of force this year.

"In light of North Korea's continued destabilizing actions in the region, including the test launch of multiple intercontinental ballistic missiles, President Biden will make clear that our commitment to security of the Republic of Korea and Japanese allies, reiterate our commitment, I should say, including our extended deterrence commitments, is ironclad," said Psaki, referring to South Korea by its official name.

North Korea's recent missile provocations, however, do not warrant a serious security concern for Biden's upcoming trip to Asia, she noted.

"I would say we certainly always assess security as we do with any of the president's travel, but that has not been a concern as it relates to his travel coming up in just a few weeks," the White House spokesperson said when asked.

"There's no question that North Korea is going to be on the agenda when he visits South Korea and Japan," she added. (Yonhap)

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