The Biden Administration, Foreign Policy, and International Law in Asia

In recent years, Asia has assumed a position of centrality in U.S. foreign policy, a development that has a number of consequences for international law, both public and private. Whereas the Obama Administration promised a "Pivot to Asia" through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), strengthened treaty alliances with Australia, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, and increased U.S. military presence in the Pacific to balance China's growing presence in the region, the Trump Administration abandoned the TPP, implemented trade sanctions against Australia, Japan, and South Korea, and started a trade war with China. The Biden Administration thus inherits a mixed legacy against a number of critical developments, including the Covid-19 pandemic, a globalizing China through such initiatives as the Regional Economic Comprehensive Partnership (RCEP) and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and human rights crises in Xinjiang, Myanmar, and Kashmir, to name a few. This webinar, comprised of international law and policy experts including academics and those with public service experience in both the U.S. government and within the Asian region, will chart out the main issues comprising the Biden Administration’s foreign policy agenda in Asia and suggest paths forward.


  • Professor William Burke-White, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Professor Matthew Erie, University of Oxford (Moderator)
  • Professor Yurika Ishii, National Defense Academy of Japan
  • Ambassador Enna Park, Republic of Korea Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United Kingdom
  • Susan Thornton, Yale Law School, Retired senior U.S. Diplomat with 30 years of experience in Eurasia and East Asia