South Korean National Security Office Director Suh Hoon and U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien had their first phone call on Wednesday after Suh took office and agreed to meet. On the same day, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choi Jung-kun left for the United States to meet U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun.
This signals the resumption of the two communication channels between the two nations. Choi said he would express our stance on the “Quad Plus,” an alliance Washington has asked Seoul to join in an effort to keep China in check, which could present a new phase for the South Korean government’s “balancing act” between the United States and China.
“They reaffirmed their determination to the alliance between the two countries that have shared values,” the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said speaking of the phone call between Suh and O’Brien. “Shared values” has been a keyword used repeatedly by the United States, which has been promoting “Quad Plus.” Quad Plus is an extended alliance of “Quad” that includes South Korea, Vietnam and New Zealand on top of the United States, Japan, India and Australia. “Certainly creating a new institution that reflects our shared interests and values in the Indo-Pacific would be a great accomplishment for any president,” said Biegun at the virtual U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum on August 31.
Suh and O’Brien reportedly agreed to discuss various plans for denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula, recognizing that the next few months are critical to pushing forward such efforts.
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