China, North Korea loom as Blinken, Austin head to Asia

WASHINGTON (AP) — Threats from China and North Korea will loom large over the Biden administration’s first Cabinet-level trip abroad. It’s part of a larger effort to bolster U.S. influence and calm concerns about America’s role in Asia. A senior administration official says the U.S. has tried to reach out to North Korea, but has yet to get a response. That makes consultations with the reclusive country’s neighbors, Japan, South Korea and China, all the more critical. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are traveling to Japan and South Korea as the Biden administration tries to shore up partnerships with the regional allies.