Seoul reportedly told Washington that it would join the Biden administration’s efforts to reshape the global semiconductor supply chain. Accordingly, the leaders of the two countries are expected to discuss their cooperation on semiconductor as a key agenda item at their first summit in May. U.S. President Joe Biden will meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in his second in-person meeting with a foreign leader after his inauguration in January, following the one he had with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
According to South Korean government officials on Friday, Seoul has expressed its willingness to join Washington’s initiative to develop its own supply chain for key technologies, such as semiconductor and EV battery. Seoul is concerned that the domestic chip industry is likely to suffer a blow if it does not participate in the U.S.-led chip supply chain reorganization amid the battle for technological supremacy between the U.S. and China. President Biden signed an executive order in February, ordering a review of global supply chains risks for four key products including semiconductor, EV batteries, rare earth elements, and pharmaceuticals. The result of the review will come out in June. President Moon plans to put an emphasis on bilateral cooperation on semiconductor at the upcoming summit, which will be held just before the result comes out in June.
The two leaders will also talk about jointly implementing Washington’s new North Korea policy once it is announced after a review. According to diplomatic sources in Washington, the Biden administration is likely to announce its North Korea policy as early as Friday (local time).
A COVID-19 vaccine swap arrangement, which had been discussed between the two countries but was eventually turned down by Washington, will not be on the agenda at the bilateral summit.
Chung Man-ho, presidential secretary for communication, said in a briefing on Friday that the two leaders will have in-depth conversation on bilateral cooperation on economy, trade, and global challenges, such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic as well as close cooperation for complete denuclearization and permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. “President Moon’s visit will highlight the ironclad alliance between the U.S. and South Korea,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. “President Biden looks forward to working with President Moon to further strengthen our alliance and expand our close cooperation.”
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